Spotlight - 10.2019

(coco) #1
y name is Kristine Rose-Beers. I’m 38
years old and senior conservator at the
Chester Beatty Library, which is based
in the grounds of the historic
Dublin Castle.
My job involves the pres-
ervation and conservation of
art objects within the exten-
sive collection. My personal
area of interest and research
is Islamic manuscripts. I’m par-
ticularly interested in manuscripts
from the eastern Mediterranean. We’re
very lucky to have some of the earliest
examples of the codex (book form) in the
library. This includes three multi-quire
Coptic parchment codices from the
sixth century, as well as folios of biblical
papyri from the second century AD. We
also have books from the fourth century
through to the present day. The period
I’m most fascinated by is any thing before
When I’m reviewing an object for con-
servation, I try to think about why I’ve
been asked to look at it and what it needs.
For example, is the book showing signs of
physical damage? Perhaps the book has
been weakened by an insect that nibbled
its way through the pages hundreds of

adhesive [Ed(hi:sIv]
, Klebstoff, Haftmittel
artefact [(A:tIfÄkt]
, Gegenstand
codex (Pl. codices)
[(kEUdeks; (kEUdIsi:z]
, altertümliche Hand-
schrift in Buchform
Coptic [(kQptIk]
, koptisch
fairly [(feəli]
, ziemlich
flake away [fleIk E(weI]
, abblättern
gym [dZIm]
, Fitnessstudio

maven [(meIv&n]
, Experte, Expertin
, Mittelmeer(raum)
millennia [mI(leniE]
, Jahrtausende
nibble [(nIb&l]
, knabbern, nagen
parchment [(pA:tSmEnt]
, Pergament-
pester [(pestE]
, bedrängen, belästigen
, Erhaltung, Schutz

quire [(kwaIE]
, Lage, Bogen (Papier)
Qur’an [kO:(rA:n]
, Koran
sacred [(seIkrId]
, heilig, sakral, geistlich
scroll [skrEUl]
, Schriftrolle
surface [(s§:fIs]
, Oberfläche
unwind [)Vn(waInd]
, abschalten
utterly [(VtEli]
, völlig
vulnerable [(vVlnErEb&l]
, anfällig



Lernen Sie eine irische Konservatorin
historischer Manuskripte kennen, deren
Arbeitsstelle sich in einem Schloss befindet.

Fotos: Olive Keogh; iStockphoto, netopaek, narcisa, Ryan Klos, LdF, crazy82/; Ole Schwander/

Spotlight 10/2019 A DAY IN MY LIFE




years ago, or maybe its materials are suffering because of light
or changes in humidity and temperature.

The Chester Beatty’s approach is one of minimal intervention.
This means we take the smallest steps possible to stabilize an
object. I like this approach. I think it preserves the integrity of
the artefact, and we don’t try to hide the fact that it may have had
a long and adventurous life. I recently worked on a beautifully
illuminated Italian manuscript from 1380. Some of the areas of
pigment had begun to lift and flake away from the surface, so
working under a microscope, I inserted adhesive beneath the
flakes to bring them back down to the surface and ensure they
stay there. That took about three days. But I’m also working on
a very long project that has already taken four years. It’s a fasci-
nating early eighth-century Qur’an manuscript on parchment.
My work is fairly varied and I get to travel quite a lot. But on
a typical day, my alarm goes off at 7 a.m. and my cat starts pes-
tering me to get out of bed to feed her. I try to leave the house
by 8.15 and I walk to work down the hill to Dublin Castle. On a
good day, I get to focus on the things I’ve planned to do, but we
often get a last-minute request for an object to be digitized, or
I have to look at something for a potential loan or exhibition.
We have quite strict hours because of the security on the site,
so I finish work at 5 p.m. I often go to the gym after work just to
unwind. I like to cook so I’ll prepare something to eat and chat
with my husband and maybe watch TV before bed.

The themes in the Chester Beatty galleries remain the same
year round, but the displays rotate. Because it’s largely manu-
script material, it can be very vulnerable to light damage; noth-
ing is on display for longer than a year at most. On the first
floor, we have our Arts of the Book gallery. This takes you
through the way books and written materials have
been produced for the past two millennia. There, you
can see Egyptian papyrus texts and some beautiful
Qur’an manuscripts and Japanese scrolls. On the
second floor is the Sacred Traditions gallery. This
covers world religions and is utterly inclusive, with
everything from very early biblical fragments on papy-
rus right through to a Jain textile painted object. Everything
we have is beautiful. It’s very difficult to pick a favourite.

Listen to Kristine Rose-
Beers on Spotlight Audio:
Free download pdf