Jim Bloxam

Jim is Senior Book Tutor on the BA (Hons) Conservation: Books and Paper course at City & Guilds of London Art School. Jim joined the Art School in Autumn 2022 after a professional career of over 35 years working as a bookbinder and book conservator. For the last ten years of his career, Jim was Head of Conservation and Collection Care, Cambridge University Library, UK.

His particular research interests lie mainly in the history of books; their structural qualities and their cultural context. He has taught historical book structures in the UK, Europe and the US, focusing mainly on European book structures.

International Projects

Montefiascone Conservation Project

Since 1998 Jim has been involved with the Montefiascone Conservation Project which includes a programme of summer schools. The classes provide an opportunity for librarians, conservators, cataloguers, bibliographers and those interested in the history and conservation of books, to assemble once a year to study one or more of the four, week-long courses. Many new professional contacts have been established and knowledge and skills have been generously disseminated by masters in the field. Jim has taught courses on Romanesque Book Structures, Gothic Book Structures, Medieval Girdle Books, the St. Cuthbert Gospel, Italian fifteenth century bindings and sixteenth century ‘Cambridge Bindings’.

St. Catherine’s Monastery, Sinai- Conservation Project.

In 2003, Jim was part of a team of conservators involved in the condition survey of the 3,307 bound manuscripts in the old library of the Monastery. In 2006 the most detailed condition for a whole collection of this size was completed after the participation of thirty-five people from nine different countries.

Thesaurus Islamicus Foundation & Dar al-Kutub Manuscript Project

Jim was one of a team of conservators whose findings, following a colloquium at the Dar Al Katub (National Library of Egypt), Sept. 2006, assisted The Foundation to sign an agreement with the National Library of Egypt (Dar al-Kutub) and the Egyptian Ministry of Culture to assist with the preservation, and conservation of the National Library’s manuscript collection and to work with the National Library to establish it as a regional leader in collection care and management. The National Library possesses around 60,000 manuscript titles. It is the largest manuscript collection in the Arab World and one of the most important collections of Islamic manuscripts worldwide. Jim was involved in training of Egyptian conservation staff and in assisting the set-up of a major exhibition.

Membership of Professional Bodies

  • Alumni Member of Institute of Conservation (ICON)
  • Committee Member of ICON Book and Paper Group (2006-2010)
  • Editor for Book & Paper Group content in Icon News (2006-2010).


International Journal of the Book, Volume 3, Issue 4, pp.15-24.’The Medieval Girdle Book’: Print (Spiral Bound). Article: Electronic (PDF File; 1.038MB).

Bloxam, Jim (2006), ‘The Beast, the Book and the Belt’, in Pluskowski, Aleksander (ed), Breaking and Shaping Beastly Bodies: Animals as Material Culture in the Middle Ages, Oxbow Books, 2006.

‘The medieval girdle book project’ in Proceedings from the Fifth International Conference of the Institute of Paper Conservation and the First International Conference of the Institute of Conservation, Book and Paper Group, 26-29 July 2006

Bloxam, Jim (2007). ‘The Messiner Law Book of the Bavarian State Library: a study of the binding’, in Einband, Issue 20, 2007

Bloxam, Jim and Thompson, Shaun (2019), ‘A Previously Unrecorded Sewing Technique Deciphered during a Study of a Twelfth-Century, Limp Tawed-Skin Binding’ in Miller, Julia (ed), Suave Mechanicals: Essays on the History of Bookbinding, Volume 5, The Legacy Press, 2019.


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