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Professor Nicholas Pickwoad

Professorial Research Fellow
University of the Arts London
Email address
Researcher Research
Nicholas  Pickwoad


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.

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.

Grants and awards

(Figures indicate amount awarded to UAL)

  • Arts and Humanities Research Council (AHRC), Augmented Browsing of Books in Historic Libraries, £46,134.00, (2018-2018)
  • Arts and Humanities Research Council, Enhancing visitor experience in historic libraries, £46,136.31, (2018-2018)
  • St Catherines Foundation, An online catalogue of the manuscripts of the St. Catherine Monastery, £33,010.00, (2015-2017)
  • Gladys Krieble Delmas Foundation, Clarkson Slide Archive Project, £13,845.00, (2016-2017)
  • Pine Tree Foundation of New York, Clarkson Slide Archive Project, £13,845.00, (2016-2017)
  • Arts and Humanities Research Council (AHRC), Language of Bindings Network, £35,993.00, (2011-2012)
  • St Catherines Foundation, The place of bindings in book history and bibliography: resources and research conference, £6,000.00, (2011-2011)
  • Arts and Humanities Research Council, English/Greek Terminology for Bookbinding

Research Outputs

Book Section


Current research students

  • Lisa Camilleri, Notarial Bindings in Malta (Lead supervisor)
  • Anna Gialdini, Alla Greca'. A Historical, Material and Cultural Analysis of Greek-Style Bookbindings in Renaissance Venice. (Lead supervisor)
  • 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. (Lead supervisor)
  • 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. (Lead supervisor)
  • Aurélie Martin, Bindings of Baskerville: study of the bindings found on John Baskerville’s editions in the British Isles and abroad (18th-19th century). (Lead supervisor)
  • Aurélie Martin, Navigating through Bindings: Study of the Bookbindings of Ship’s Logbooks from Maritime Empires in Early Modern Europe. (Lead supervisor)
  • Andrew Megaw, 19th Century British Photographically Illustrated Books, from the mid 1840s to the mid 1870s, Considered as Historical Artefacts (Lead supervisor)
  • Jennifer Murray, Manuscript fragments and the bindings from which they were removed. (Lead supervisor)
  • Marta Romero Ramirez, Limp, laced-case binding in parchment on sixteenth-century Mexican printed books. (Lead supervisor)
  • Miriam Rampazzo, DUCAL COMMISSIONS “A CASSETTONI”:16th century Venetian sunk-panel bindings. Structure and production (Lead supervisor)
  • Heather Ravenberg, A Data Model to Describe Book Conservation Treatment Activity. (Lead supervisor)
  • 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. (Lead supervisor)

Past research students