About The Project

My Photo
The Chester Beatty Library in Dublin with the continued support of The Sumitomo Foundation in Tokyo, have now commissioned Restorient to conserve three more of their most treasured Japanese paintings. Dating from the early 17th century this set of hand scrolls chart the epic tale of "Hunting the Ogres" It will be possible to follow the conservation of these magnificent hand scrolls here on this blog. We at Restorient are delighted to have the opportunity to share this remarkable project, and to offer some insights into this type of specialist conservation.

The Chester Beatty Library

Restorient Home

Tuesday, 10 May 2011


As the removal of previous lining papers continues on the hand scrolls we should mention what is happening all around the area. Leiden is on the edge of the famous Dutch bulb fields and this time of year the fields are crammed with tulips, daffodils, and hyacinths. The roads are also packed with visitors...........

The Semper Augustus tulip
The popularity  of tulips in the early 17th century caught the attention of the entire nation "even to its lowest dregs". By 1635, a sale of 40 bulbs for 100,000 florins (also known as Dutch guilders) was recorded. By way of comparison, a ton of butter cost around 100 florins, a skilled laborer might earn 150 florins a year, and "eight fat swine" cost 240 florins. People were selling or trading their other possessions in order to speculate in the tulip market, such as an offer of 12 acres (49,000 metres square) of land for one of two existing Semper Augustus bulbs. Unfortunately the extraordinary beauty of Semper Augustus is the result of a viral infection which 'breaks' the single block of colour normally displayed on tulips, adding a stunning striation of white or yellow coloured strips. The virus would make it difficult to  propagate. Eventually the bulb would lose its strength and eventually wither to nothing - ending the genetic line. Consequently the famous, colour broken Semper August bulb no longer exists.

As is the nature of all bubbles this one did indeed burst leaving a badly bruised economy and some very overpriced tulip bulbs. 

back to top