The Clarkson Slide Archive

A life's work from 1967 onwards in 30,000 slides to be digitised, indexed and made available online

  • £11,723

    pledged of £25,000

    • 127


    • 0


This project received pledges on Sun 26 Nov 2017

We need to raise £25,000 to complete a project to digitize the 30,000 slides belonging to the late Christopher Clarkson, the pre-eminent conservator of medieval books and historian of bookbinding, and make them available on the internet. Taken from 1967 onwards, they are a record of his life’s work and interests. I knew Chris for almost forty years and like many others, learned a huge amount from him. He was a keen supporter of this project until his death on 30 March, and this is a chance for us to give something back in his memory. All of the slides are now scanned, and we are working with small group of Italian book conservators, all of whom were taught by Chris in the book conservation course at Spoleto in the 1990s and early 2000s, and therefore knew him and how he worked. We hope to finish the work by the end of this year.

By supporting this project, you will allow everyone to benefit from this extraordinary collection, which forms an important part of his legacy. The slides include his work in Florence after the floods in 1967, his interest in the history of bookbinding, including images of medieval bindings that have since been destroyed, his work as a book conservator, his teaching, his interest in lettering and much, much more.

We were able to start the work and scan the slides with money (£47,500) raised from donors on both sides of the Atlantic, but we always knew that this was not going to be enough to complete the project. All the money we are now hoping to raise will be used exclusively to pay for the work of the project assistants from July to the end of the year, or as far as it will take us, if we do not raise the full amount (@ £3,500 per month, plus travel and the much reduced accommodation costs offered us by the Clarkson family). Using Chris’s notes and other archival material, the assistants will continue to create the metadata needed to make the collection searchable on-line. They are also rehousing the scanned slides in archival-quality slide sheets and ring-file boxes donated to the project by Conservation by Design. The images will be freely available on the website of the Ligatus Research Centre of the University of the Arts London.

If we raise more money than we are asking for, we will use that extra money to enhance the website and extend the depth of the metadata before moving on to include his more recent digital photographs. The progress of the project will be reported in the blog on the Ligatus website (