In 1943 Antoine de Saint-Exupery published a novella name The Little Prince. Since then it has been beloved by both children and adults, encouraging readers never to abandon imagination or hope. I love this book. My friends love this book. (Seriously, ask my friend who had the stars from the original illustration tattooed on her ankle.) So, when I got the chance to repair someone's beloved copy of The Little Prince I was thrilled.
The first two pages, including the title page with the illustration of the Little Prince and the birds, were torn out.
This was a project where we were not doing restoration, just repairing the torn pages so our repairs had to be as seamless as possible. We used a combination of Okawara and Tengucho, both of which are Japanese made papers. Okawara is a thicker, sturdier paper that is usually a creamy color.The Tengucho is tissue-like, but is deceptively strong.
The first page of a book is called the front free-end page and it is often blank, unlike the title page which had text and an illustration. Since I didn't have to worry about obscuring any image and only a little bit of the title on the free end page I used the Okawara on both sides of the page.
For the free-end page that had the title printed on it, I also used Okawara and did my best to keep the title from being covered up. The iconic illustration of the Little Prince leaving his planet via a flock of birds we obviously did not want to cover anything if possible. This is where we used the diaphanous Tengucho to stabilize the tear that was being held together on the other side of the page by the Okawara.
We needed to stabilize both sides of the torn pages because if we had only put a paper patch on one side it risked tearing in the same way that the original papers had. The photos above show the tear even after I have repaired one side of the paper.
I traced out the smallest area we could cover with Tengucho and still stabilize the tear.
We used a starch paste to glue everything and it did not cause any reaction or discoloration of the paper, so once applied the Tenchugo was barely visible.
I am an avid book lover and this project made me so happy. I loved being able to repair these pages so that the owner could turn them and enjoy the illustration.
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