Early English lithography

Early English lithography

31st January 2024

Like many colleagues in the trade, I’m currently gearing up for the California book fair next week. One thing I shall be exhibiting in San Francisco is this, Henry Bernard Chalon’s (1770–1849) ‘famous stone of Wild Horses’ (Man, p. 107), his only early lithograph, for Vollweiler’s Specimens of Polyautography (Part III, 1806; see below).  ‘The […]

A little book with a very long title

A little book with a very long title

18th January 2024

I’m currently getting everything ready for the California book fair, and have already drawn up a list of things I shall be exhibiting at the fair. One is the little book above (I’ve blown it up, so you can read the title-page; the actual book measures 172 × 101 mm): a rare chapbook published in […]

The Three Kings

The Three Kings

10th January 2024

I have recently started reading Gaudy Night by Dorothy L. Sayers. A number of people have recommended it to me over the years and I have finally got round to getting a copy. It made me think of other things she wrote. One of my favourite works by her is not a crime novel at […]

Marbled cloth

Marbled cloth

24th October 2023

Everyone’s heard of marbled paper. You see it all the time on old books. But how about marbled cloth? Here’s a nice example on the first edition in English of Mallet du Pan‘s Memoirs and Correspondence (London, Bentley, 1852). Cloth bindings by this time were standard, so publishers sought to appeal to potential book buyers […]

Paper imitating leather

Paper imitating leather

18th October 2023

In my last blogpost, I wrote about a Victorian binding which sought to imitate polished walnut. This week, I wanted share another paper, one from earlier in the nineteenth century, and from Germany, which was also used to mimic burr wood veneers or, on books, tree calf. It’s called Wurzelmarmorpapier (lit. ‘root marbled paper’) and […]

Paper imitating wood, cloth imitating leather

Paper imitating wood, cloth imitating leather

11th October 2023

When this book, an anthology of English poetry, was advertised for sale in 1866, it was described as being ‘very handsomely bound in walnut covers’, but it’s an illusion: the boards are in fact made from varnished papier mâché. Simon Cooke explains: ‘Notable attempts were made to stress the luxuriousness of gift books by presenting […]