Category: Historic bindings & objects

A canvas binding; or, a canvas covered school book

The introduction of the first mass produced, embossed, starched fabric for covering books is generally attributed to Archibald Leighton in the 1820s. The development of book-cloth was a catalyst for the movement away from in-board binding towards a case bound structure and the term ‘cloth binding’ has now become almost synonymous with case binding. However,

Continue Reading

What’s on the page? Signatures, catchwords, and press figures.

Have you looked at books of the hand-press period (circa 1450-1800) and wondered what the letters and numbers are at the foot of the page? Well, wonder no more…  To decipher these marks, we must first understand how the page was created. Whilst we might now think of books as collections of single sheets, early

Continue Reading
An early 19th century stationery binding

Stationery binding quires: Do they differ from printed sections?

The following is an amended excerpt from an unpublished Paper No hum-drum memorandum: Conservation of the Shakespeare Birthplace Trust’s first Visitor’s Book, that Arthur gave for the 2019 Archives & Records Association (ARA) Conference in Leeds. The presentation described the conservation of an early 19th century stationery binding, looking at the various aspects of documentation,

Continue Reading

A cloth binding?

Let me present my latest find: M. Dupont, Ou La Jeune Fille Et Sa Bonne by Charles Paul De Kock (Paris, 1835). The book is an octavo, printed on paper; with tipped endleaves formed from single folds of white paper; multi-section sewn on three recessed cords; rounded and backed; with cut edges and without endbands. Importantly, it

Continue Reading

A green book for Green’s Books

Stationery bindings come in all shapes and sizes and from many different periods: This latest addition to our collection is a striking example in green vellum, which dates from the mid-nineteenth century. Discovered not far from us in an antiques shop in Herefordshire, this inexpensive little volume (H:187 W:123mm) has a fantastic local connection as

Continue Reading

Book production during WWII

Whilst browsing the shelves of a local charity shop in Worcester, we recently came across this modest copy of Arthur Ransome’s The Picts and the Martyrs [1] printed in Oxford at the Alden Pressand bound by A. W. Bain & Co. Ltd.  What drew us to the book was not its faded green cloth exterior, brightly

Continue Reading

Identifying Indigo

Some observations about indigo… I was recently sent a fascinating image (see below) of an endband by a colleague who noted areas of un-dyed thread which he suspected was symptomatic of the hand-dying process used for indigo. This effect is certainly something I’ve observed when dying myself: the thread is dyed in skeins and the

Continue Reading

A Welsh Pyx

Having worked on collections from several Oxford archives over recent years, I’ve been lucky enough to handle a great variety of boxes and enclosures that have been used to keep documents safe. It is not uncommon for archival boxes to reflect the items which they protect; such as grand charter boxes (or ‘banjo cases’ as

Continue Reading

Site by The Web Project