Bindings in the Spotlight (8)

This is a fine example of a Parisian binding dating from around 1560. It covers Plutarch’s Vies des hommes illustres which was printed, also in Paris, in 1559. In the early years of the printed book trade the place of printing was not necessarily a guide to where the binding was made. Books were distributed …

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Bindings in the Spotlight (7)

This month we are featuring the French Art Deco bookbinder Rose Adler (1892-1959) and her binding for Theocritus' Idylls in French illustrated by Henri Laurens (Kessler.a.23).  Accompanying the book, which is part of the Kessler Collection of livres d'artistes and fine bindings, are three pages of notes in Adler's hand which relate to the details …

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Bindings in the Spotlight (6)

Jean Grolier (c.1489-1565), originally from Lyons, is remembered today as a bibliophile who put together an extensive collection of books with specially commissioned fine bindings. Most of his books were printed in Italy (often Venice) or Basle and the bindings were usually from Milanese and Parisian workshops. This Milanese binding in morocco, decorated with medallions …

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Bindings in the Spotlight (5)

  Jean de Gonet (1950-) is one of the best-known modern French binders.  His work represents a revolution in traditional modern binding featuring visible sewing structures and the use of unusual materials, including metals, rubber and plastic.  On display are a number of examples taken from the Kessler Collection.  As an example of an unusual …

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Bindings in the Spotlight (4)

This presentation copy of Gesner’s Historia animalium (Zurich, 1551) was bound for Edward VI. The initials ‘ER’ are in three panels on the spine. Gold-tooled decorative bindings such as this were popular during the sixteenth century in England. The decoration was achieved by pressing heated tools through gold leaf into the leather. The binding is …

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Bindings in the Spotlight (3)

Designed by the famous French binder Paul Bonet (1889-1971) in 1949, this is one of 28 different copies or versions of the 1937 edition of Alphonse Daudet's 'Aventures prodigieuses de Tartarin de Tarascon' (Kessler.a.28).  Daudet's 1872 novel concerns the town of Tarascon and the misadventures of a certain Tartarin: "The Provençal town of Tarascon is …

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Bindings in the Spotlight (2)

This binding is royal blue morocco with an inlaid border featuring Scottish thistles. The Scottish arms in the centre are 18 carat gold, set with pearls, rubies and diamonds. It was designed by Alberto Sangorski around 1925-26 and bound by the firm Wood of London (est. 1875). Alberto (1862-1932) was the elder brother of Francis …

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Bindings in the Spotlight (1)

This year a regular monthly blog post will highlight some of the most interesting book and manuscript bindings in our collection. To begin, we are featuring a beautiful contemporary binding by James Brockman (b. 1946) of the French translation of Johann Goethe's 'Faust' (Kessler.bb.10).  Covered in full maroon Harmatan goatskin, the design has been tooled …

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