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Durham University's First Folio to be restored in March

9th February 2011

A rare folio of William Shakespeare's plays that was recently returned to Durham University is to undergo conservation work next month, it has been reported.

The First Folio, which contains 36 of Shakespeare's works, was stolen from the university's library in 1998. It was only returned in July 2010 after former antiques dealer Raymond Scott was convicted of handling stolen goods and smuggling the 387-year-old book, but cleared of its actual theft.

According to the Art Newspaper, the book is now worth GBP 1.5 million, which is half of its value when it was taken. The folio's first and last pages have been removed, presumably to prevent its identification, while a total of ten pages have become detached from their binding.

Conservators will start their work to protect the book when it is removed from the ongoing Treasures of Durham University exhibition on March 6th.

Sheila Hingley, the university's head of heritage collection, told the newspaper: 'The first priority is to repair the edges of the damaged pages and reattach them to each other … in preparation for resewing them onto new chords.'

After the First Folio is removed from the Treasures of Durham University show it will be replaced by an exhibition on the life and works of Victorian composer Sir John Stainer, featuring material drawn from the institution's archive dedicated to the musician.
 

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