The Rylands Haggadah
This Haggadah is a medieval Sephardi masterpiece, an illuminated Passover compendium from mid 14th century Spaln. It is one of the finest Haggdot in existence and of international significance. It is important for its intrinsic beauty and for the light it throws on the history of illumination of Hebrew manuscripts .
Understanding the significance and value of the Haggadah, the conservator began the consolidation process with some trepidation. The first few pages to be consolidated only had small amounts of pigment, allowing his confidence and technique to be developed. Within a short space of time confidence grew and the method of consolidation was refined. The time taken for each page varies with the fully decorated pages each taking days or even weeks to complete.
In 2011 the NMCT awarded a grant of over £7,300 to enable the Haggadah to be conserved. After the conservation was completed the Rylands Haggadah to be loaned for exhibition at the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York from March to September 2012. It has since returned to the John Rylands Library where it will, thanks to the conservation, once more be accessible to the public and scholars alike.
The images below show the delicate conservation work in progress and show a details of several of the illuminations and if you are inspired by these you can download a digital version of the Rylands Haggadah from the iTunes bookstore for £1.99.
Images courtesy of the John Rylands Library, University of Manchester