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 […]

Ribbon-embossed cloth

Ribbon-embossed cloth

3rd October 2023

This is a copy of Jane and Ann Taylor’s City Scenes, or a Peep into London, brought out by London publishers Harvey & Darton in, according to the title-page, 1828, but it was probably issued about 1835. In his magisterial bibliography The Dartons: an annotated check-list of children’s books, Lawrence Darton notes four possible bindings […]

Cut-flush edges

Cut-flush edges

21st September 2023

This book, a first edition of Recherches pratiques sur les différentes manieres de traiter les maladies vénériennes (1770) by Jacques-Joseph de Gardane (1726–1786), docteur-régent at the University of Paris, exhibits something called a cut-flush binding.  As the online Language of Bindings Thesaurus explains, in such a binding ‘the boards and/or covering material are cut level […]

A print with a flap

A print with a flap

14th September 2023

Tomorrow will see booksellers and bibliophiles heading to the York book fair. I can’t go this year, but thought I’d share the following which came in recently: ‘Drawn on Stone by F[rederick]. Mackenzie’, it’s a lithograph entitled Interior of York Minster from the Nave.  Shewing the Screen of the Choir in the Situation to which […]

‘A work of darkness’ (Voltaire)

‘A work of darkness’ (Voltaire)

7th September 2023

Wikipedia calls Charles Théveneau de Morande (1741–1805) a gutter journalist, blackmailer, and spy. He was certainly ‘a large and charismatic man of great physical strength and presence, traits he used to bully and intimidate.  Having received an education in Arnay-le-Duc and Dijon, Morande joined the French army and was possibly wounded serving in the Seven […]