WUDPAC Class of 2019 Fellow Madison Brockman worked with rare earth magnets in preparation for the exhibition Truth and Beauty: The Pre-Rafaelites and the Old Masters, at the Legion of Honor, Fine Arts Museums of San Francisco. From Madison's blog post on the Legion of Honor website:
There are golden treasures on display in Truth and Beauty, but they’re not the sunken treasures of a pirate ship; they’re hand-illustrated books with exquisitely crafted bindings.
of these books date to the early twentieth century, though they hearken
back to the tradition of illustrated manuscripts from the medieval
period. Passionate about a return to craft, Pre-Raphaelites and artists
like William Morris (British, 1834–1896) eschewed modern mechanized
manufacturing in favor of the hand production of decorative objects.
Hand and Soul,
written by Dante Gabriel Rossetti (British, 1828–1882), tells the tale
of a fictional early Italian artist. This sumptuously decorated volume
was made by Francis Sangorski (British, 1875–1912) and George Sutcliff
(British, 1878–1943) over the period of 1904–1911. Rather than printed,
the text was handwritten on vellum pages and illuminated with beautiful
imagery and decorative borders in tempera paint and gold leaf. The
volume was bound by hand as well, and its deep green leather covering
features an elaborate display of three-dimensional jeweled pomegranates
set amid hand-gilded foliage. The manuscript pays homage to its
medieval-art predecessors and to the exacting craftsmanship of Morris’s
Kelmscott Press, which published the original text in 1895.
Jeweled “treasure bindings” like these are simply too beautiful to
cover up, so the paper conservation team at the Legion of Honor needed
to engineer a new way of safely displaying the book. Book cradles are
commonly used to display books, yet they can obscure the covers and
typically allow for the display of only one opening, or two pages.