A Stitch in Time- Multicoloured Medieval Make-Do-And-Mend

Conserving beautiful, historical and delicate artefacts is a difficult job to get right.

Just consider the furore over the botched restoration of the Ecce Homo fresco in Spain.

Restoring and renovating work requires immense precision and skill; but as these images show, with the addition of imagination, they can even add to the artefact’s beauty.

This medieval manuscript has been carefully mended and stitched back together using coloured silk thread.

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The manuscript dates from the fourteenth century and belonged to the monastic library at Vadstena Convent until its purchase in Konstanz in 1417. After some time, the parchment began to succumb to typical signs of wear and tear.

It is not known quite when the thread was introduced. The stitch technique used is the same as is used in embroidery and combined silk in various colours.

The thread is currently so delicate that it disintegrates on touch.

The delicate designs are peppered throughout the manuscript at random, holding the pages together where they most threaten to part. They look surprisingly modern and cheerful for dark age additions and give the manuscript even more of a sense of delicate beauty.

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By Siobhan Fenton, Fawn Review editor.

What do you of the stitching? Does it add to the manuscript’s beauty? Or distract from it? We’d love to hear your thoughts! Comment below or click here to join the conversation on the Fawn Review facebook page!

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