Adopt a Book

We have important books and need your help!

Books printed in the 17th or 18th century have often been repaired or rebound in the past. Some are still in good condition and are regularly inspected and cleaned. Others require major or minor repair. A large number of these books were given to the Institution by Rev. Leonard Jenyns (1800-1893), who was an expert in the field of natural history. The nucleus of his library was originally formed by his great uncle Leonard Chappelow, and includes early works by well known figures such as John Evelyn, John Gerard, John Ray and Martin Lister. Jenyns collected books throughout his lifetime. His donation of about 3000 titles represents a major part of our library.

What do the books need?

While the contents of a book may be transcribed, photocopied and put on the internet, the visual and physical impact of seeing and feeling the book is a very strong one. We therefore feel the restoration of selected volumes to make them safe to handle is a worthwhile project.

Due to neglect in the past some books have suffered from storage in conditions that were too dry or damp. As can be seen, the boards and spines have become detached from the books and damaged. These volumes should be furbished and their corners repaired, endpapers replaced, and new leather spines attached where necessary.


How can you help?

Any contribution towards either the full or part restoration of a book of your choice from the library will be gratefully acknowledged. When a book is adopted it will be restored by local bookbinders who specialise in antiquarian books. Your contribution will be recorded in our official register of the scheme, and your name will be inscribed on a specially designed bookplate. See below for a sample list of books currently awaiting restoration; a comprehensive list is available at the Institution.  For further details, or if you would like to inspect any of the books, please contact us via or phone 01225 312084.

Dr. Evelyn Lewis, organiser of BRLSI’s Adopt-a-Book scheme (pictured left), also makes the registers that are used to record propgress. Photographs are taken of each volume before and after restoration and sponsors are invited to a book-signing, when the register and the restored book can be viewed and signed.

Jessops Sponsor the photographs documenting restoration work.

Books awaiting Adoption

Sponsors may contribute all or part of the cost. The sponsorship is recorded for posterity by the signing of the appropriate bookplates affixed to the refurbished and record books and could prove to be a unique gift to record a special family event or even a Christmas present!

  • Baker, Henry An attempt towards a natural history of the polype (1743). Calf reback, raised bands, lettered on a morocco label, gilt lines and centres, £91.45.
  • Bath Royal Literary and Scientific Institution Letterbook (1866-1875). Half-bound style, new spine with new calf corners, lettered label, £144.80.
  • Bonnet, Charles Oeuvres d’Histoire Naturelle et de Philosophie (1779-83). 5 vols. require new spine and corners, halfbound style, no raised bands, lettered direct, with gilt lines. £95.60 each.
  • Britton, John Appendix to Britton’s Auto-biography (1850). Cloth reback, relaying original spine. £53.95.
  • Cuvier, George Recherches sur les Ossemens Fossiles (1821-24). Rebind using existing boards. £117.50 per volume. Four volumes restored, two to go!
  • Cuvier, George Discours sur les Revolutions de la Surface du Globe (1826). New calf spine to match original, gilt lettering direct, with gilt lines. £88.90.
  • Dillenius, J.J. Historia muscorum (1741). Calf leather reback with raised bands, lettered on morocco label, with full gilt spine, retaining gilt signature if possible, £147.50.
  • Fourcroy, A.F. de A general system of chemical knowledge, vols. 1, 3-11 (1804). First English edition. Calf leather reback, no raised bands, with gilt lines and lettered direct, £67.80 each.
  • Muller, F. Max The Sacred Books of the East. vol. 3. Confucianism etc. New cloth spine to match, £48.
  • Ray, John Synopsis Methodica Animalium Quadrupedum et Serpentini Generis (1693). Calf leather reback with raised bands, lettered on morocco label, with full gilt spine, £133.45.
  • Ray, John Synopsis Methodica Avium et Piscium (1713). Calf leather reback with raised bands, lettered on morocco label, with full gilt spine, £133.45.
  • Reaumur, R.A.F. de Memoires pour servir a l’histoire des Insects vol. 1 (1737), vol. 7 (1740). Calf leather reback, lettered on morocco label, gilt lines, £75 each.
  • Royal Irish Academy Transactions vol. 1-11, 13 (1787-1818). Calf leather reback, lettered on morocco label, with gilt lines, £89.10 each.

Books that have been adopted

  • Aikin, John An Essay on the Application of Natural History to Poetry (1777), Calf reback, new spine £74.25. Adopted 2015.
  • Bath Royal Literary and Scientific Institution Annual Reports, 2 vols. Calf reback, lettered on morocco label, £75 each. Adopted August 2014.
  • Bartholomew’s Atlas of Zoogeography (1911). Resew, new half leather binding retaining existing boards, £229.90. Adopted March 2016.
  • Evelyn, John Sylva, or a discourse of forest trees (1664). Provide drop-over box, quarter-bound style, gilt lines and lettering, £250. Adopted 2015.
  • Faugere, P. Pensées de Pascal, vol. 1 (1844). Calf reback, raised bands, relaying original spine, and filling in missing tooling. £110. Adopted March 2014.
  • Muller, F. Max The Sacred Books of the East. vol. 15. Upanishads pt. 2. Cloth reback, £38. Adopted November 2015.
  • Richardson, Richard English Philology (1815). Replicate original binding, £60. Adopted March 2014.
  • Royal Institution Journal of Science and the Arts (1816-27). 6 vols. require calf reback, relaying original spines. £74.25 each. Two vols. adopted May 2014.
  • Weaver, F.W. The Visitations of Somersetshire 1531, 1573 (1885). Cloth reback, relaying original spine. £53.95. Adopted September 2014