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Sadler Restoration: Volunteer Restorers Sought

The Problem:

In c.1565-85 John Sadler, a clergyman and schoolmaster from Oundle, copied a beautiful set of five musical partbooks (GB-Ob: Mus.e.1-5) decorated with colourful inscriptions and pictures. Unfortunately his ink was too acidic, causing it to burn through the paper. This has left the music difficult to read and books so fragile that people cannot look at them in person anymore.

Our Aim:

We’re producing a digitally restored facsimile edition of the Sadler partbooks that will make their contents available to scholars, students and early music performers after many years of obscurity.

The Restoration Process:

Above: Original image from the Bodleian Library: MS.Mus.e.1, fol.35v; Below: Restored image produced by the Tudor Partbooks team

We’re using the ‘Clone Stamp’ tool from Adobe Photoshop. Using this we paste clear areas of manuscript over the show-through or sharp note-heads over smudged ones. ‌This image on the right shows the original photograph provided by the Bodleian library above (Mus.e.1, fol.35v) with the restored image provided by the Tudor Partbooks team below.

For further details download our leaflet here: Digital Restoration Flyer 

It’s a time-consuming process with pages like this taking 6-8 hours (though not all are this bad!). We have 565 images to restore, estimated to take c.3000 hours!

This is why we need some volunteers. If you fancy having a go, email: You'd need to be able to attend some intial training in Oxford, but after that you will be able to work remotely.


Last modified: Thu, 25 Jun 2015 16:37:24 BST