- New Castle & London: Oak Knoll Press & The British Library, 2011.
- 8.5 x 11 inches
- hardcover, dust jacket
- 190 pages
- ISBN: 1584562935
- ISBN: 9781584562931
Price: $49.95 other currencies
Order Nr. 105519
As a craft of more than 2,000 years, the art of bookbinding has been overlooked in history. Primarily seen for its practical purpose of protecting the pages of a book, it is sometimes hard to recognize the creative aspects of a bookbinding. Beautiful Bookbindings hopes to bring to light this artistic way of thinking by displaying the finest bookbindings as the objects of desire they were originally intended to be. As the great aesthete Oscar Wilde believed, bookbindings are beautiful and artistic in their own wonder.
Because covering materials are prone to fading and deterioration, relatively few examples of early bookbindings have survived. In more recent times, the number of surviving examples has increased due to deliberate efforts to preserve ornate bindings. Despite the difficulty in preserving bindings, this book pieces together the history of bookbinding, using written sources where necessary to fill the gaps that the bindings themselves do not fill.
From exquisite medieval bookbindings made of precious metals and jewels to the unique and highly imaginative creations of contemporary bookbinders, this book celebrates over 100 of the most beautiful bookbindings of the last 1,000 years. Books bound by some of the greatest bookbinders including Mearne, Padeloup, Payne, Simier, Cobden-Sanderson, and others are showcased, further revealing the beauty and skill of this art form. Fully illustrated in color, with specially commissioned studio photography, Beautiful Bookbindings provides a visual overview of the development of this splendid art form. The book focuses on the craft of hand-bookbinding that existed until the Victorian era when mass-produced trade bindings took over. Bookbinding as a craft form never disappeared, however, and the second half of the twentieth century saw a significant revival.
Sales rights: North and South America; available elsewhere from The British Library.