Professor Nicholas Pickwoad

Professor of History of Book Binding

Camberwell, Chelsea, Wimbledon


Nicholas Pickwoad trained in bookbinding and book conservation with Roger Powell, and ran his own workshop from 1977—89. He has been an Advisor on book conservation to the National Trust since 1978. He was Chief Conservator in the Harvard University Library from 1992–95 and is now project leader of the St Catherine’s Monastery Library Project based at the University of the Arts London, where he is director of the Ligatus Research Centre, which is dedicated to the history of bookbinding. He lectures and teaches extensively on the history of European bookbinding in Europe and the USA.

Research interests

Book binding, history of book binding.

Research statement

I am interested in the history of bookbinding both as the history of a widely-practiced and very diverse craft, but also, and more importantly, as a tool for the better understanding of the history of the booktrade, the readership of books and the place of the book within society. The development of new tools for the better recording of bindings in both their technical and decorative aspects, central to which is the creation of a definitive thesaurus of terms in collaboration with specialists across Europe, underpins all my work.


Current students and thesis titles

Anna Gialdini, 'Alla Greca'. A Historical, Material and Cultural Analysis of Greek-Style Bookbindings in Renaissance Venice.

Masoumeh Madanipour, Identifying Persian-Islamic Book-Binding Structures. A Detailed Survey of the Manuscripts from the Library of the Wellcome and the Astan Qods Razavi Library.

Aurélie Martin, Navigating through Bindings: Study of the Bookbindings of Ship’s Logbooks from Maritime Empires in Early Modern Europe.

Andrew Megaw, 19th Century British Photographically-Illustrated Books, from the 1840s to the mid-1870s, considered as Historical Artefacts.

Jennifer Murray, Manuscript fragments and the bindings from which they were removed.

Completed students and thesis titles

Heather Ravenberg, A Data Model to Describe Book Conservation Treatment Activity.

Marta Romero Ramirez, Limp, laced-case binding in parchment on sixteenth-century Mexican printed books.

Nikolas Sarris, Classification of Finishing Tools in Byzantine/Greek Bookbinding: Establishing links for manuscripts from the library of the St. Catherine's Monastery in Sinai, Egypt.

Theresa Zammit Lupi, A study on the binding structures and materials used in the manufacture of the Grand Master L'Isle Adam (1421-1534) illuminated choral books.


Selected research outputs