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A Tale of Two Globes: Alumni Support Conservation of the Library’s Coronelli Globes

"It was the best of times; it was the worst of times"....this famous opening line from Dickens’s A Tale of Two Cities is the best way to describe the work that occurred in early 2014 to kick off conservation treatment for a pair of globes (one terrestrial and one celestial) produced by noted maker, Vincenzo Coronelli.

In spite of winter weather and an “obstacle course” inside the Library resulting from ongoing renovation work in Sterling Memorial Library’s nave, the two globes were expertly packed in custom crates and safely transported to an outside conservation lab.

The Coronelli globes are the first of the Lanman Globe Collection to be sent for specialized conservation work following a collection condition survey carried out in the fall of 2011 by T.K. McClintock, Director of Fine Art Conservation for TKM Studios, whose lab will also treat the globes. McClintock is one of a very small number of conservators worldwide who specialize in the conservation of globes. Over the years, the surfaces of the Coronelli globes became discolored from exposure to atmospheric contaminants and the degradation of varnishes applied to the paper surfaces.

This project is also the story of Yale alumni and their passionate support for the Library. The core of the Lanman Globe Collection was donated to the Library in 1980 from the collection held by Yale alumnus Jonathan Lanman ’40,’43 MD. When the Library decided to focus preservation attention on this impressive collection, Allan Bulley III ’86, a Yale Library Associates Trustee, stepped up with a generous gift in honor of his 25th class reunion in 2011. Mr. Bulley’s gift laid the foundation for storage improvements and conservation treatment. The following year, Stephen Gates ’68, a globe collector and member of the University Library Council, made a splendid gift that is allowing the Library to carry out priority treatments like those for these spectacular Coronelli globes.