WORLD-CLASS experts will deploy both modern and ancient techniques in an attempt to restore a mutilated Shakespeare folio to its former glory after it goes on display next month.

Durham University plans to exhibit its Shakespeare First Folio in its current brutalised state, revealing how much damage was done to the priceless volume after it was stolen from Palace Green Library in December 1998.

Earlier this year, self-styled international playboy Raymond Scott was cleared of stealing the 380-year-old tome, but jailed for eight years for handling it.

However, after it is removed from display in The Treasures of Durham University exhibition, in March, it will undergo crucial conservation work.

New cords will be added to retain the book’s original smooth gilded edges, damaged pages will be repaired with Japanese paper and wheat starch paste and re-sewn onto the new cords and new boards, the hard covers of books, will be made and laced onto the cords before the folio is rebound in dark blue goatskin.

Its previous binding, added in the 19th Century, was made from dark brown goatskin.

Finally, the title will be lettered directly onto the spine with gold leaf and a drop back box, suitable for storage, will be made to protect the binding.

Liz Branigan, senior conservator at Durham University, said: “Working in special collections gives you the opportunity to work on many rare and interesting items, such as the Shakespeare First Folio.

“The damage caused to the book was upsetting, but we have put a lot of thought into our plans for its conservation so it can be preserved for the enjoyment of future generations.”

When Scott, formerly of Wingate, east Durham, produced the folio at the Folger Shakespeare Library, in Washington, US, in June 2008, experts said it had been “damaged, brutalised and mutilated”.

It was returned to Durham University last summer.

The Treasures of Durham University exhibition will be held in the Wolfson Gallery, Palace Green Library, Durham, from Saturday, January 15. The Shakespeare First Folio will be on display until Sunday, March 6. For more information, call 0191-334-2972.