The Collation

Research and Exploration at the Folger

Posts Tagged: bindings

An unfinished gold-tooled binding

July’s Crocodile mystery asked: why is this binding interesting? There are any number of answers, but the one I had in mind was: it’s unfinished. Last week’s picture shows the front cover of Folger call number STC 13051.3, the 1630 edition of A helpe to memory and discourse: with table-talke, as musicke to a banquet of wine. It’s 14 cm high, bound in dark blue goatskin, and has a strange-looking pattern of gold-tooled flowers and circles.… Continue Reading

Back-to-back reading

As commenters bruxer and Lydia Fletcher worked out,  January’s crocodile mystery showed a detail of the head of a dos-à-dos binding, with a covered board running down the middle separating two gauffred text blocks. The full picture makes it a bit clearer: The head of a dos-à-dos binding A dos-à-dos binding is one in which two books are bound together back-to-back (giving rise to the name), so that each has its own front cover, but a shared back board.… Continue Reading

A practical look at the Practical Science of Printing

title page for Fertel, La science pratique de l’imprimerie In 1723, a Frenchman named Martin-Dominque Fertel published a book on printing, La science pratique de l’imprimerie. It’s good to look at early printing manuals, especially when one is trying to understand how early printing works, so I was delighted to learn that the Folger acquired a copy of the book from the Veatchs in September 2012.… Continue Reading

Bridging past and present

As I hope Collation readers know by now, the Folger is committed to openly accessible resources. Last week provided one example of the exciting results from such a scholarly pooling of knowledge. The story begins with a conference held at the Library on bindings, the culmination of a two-year project creating an online database of images of bindings at the Folger.… Continue Reading

Such a lucky pretty little library…

First leaf of Visus Libelli (a little book of advices) We thought we’d kick off your weekend with an amusing and fascinating hybrid book that is ripe for research. The as-yet unidentified compiler of this late seventeenth-century, ca. 800-leaf volume, a recent acquisition at the Folger, describes it in many flowery ways. He introduces it as a “Vade-Mecum Memorial Manual of Muses, or Compleate Compendious Complexe and Companion, of Learned Languages and Sciences, Scarcely another to be seen so short, small and full.” This pretty much says it all: the manual is indeed small (it is a duodecimo) and full, and in fact looks more like a cube than a book, fat to the point of bursting. … Continue Reading

Itty-bitty tab dividers

The main trick with November’s “crocodile” was having to figure out the scale. It looks at first glance like a woolly button on a pin-striped shirt: The November ‘Crocodile’ But when a ruler is included in the shot, you can see that the colorful bobble is only 3 mm in diameter: … Continue Reading

A new copy of Foxe’s Actes and Monuments

The Folger Shakespeare Library already has two copies of John Foxe’s Actes and Monuments, published in 1570, so why would we want another, especially as it is only volume 1, of a two-volume set? The answer provides a good example of how we decide what rare items to add to the collection. We purchased this volume in June from Bonham’s auction house in London.… Continue Reading

embroidered bindings

So last week’s crocodile mystery was nailed by Aaron Pratt within a half-hour of my posting: what you see below is, as he notes, an embroidered binding depicting David and Goliath and covering a Book of Psalms, in this instance, one from 1639. … Continue Reading

Armorial bindings

The reveal to this month’s crocodile mystery isn’t much of a reveal; both John Overholt and Philip Allfrey posted the answer in last week’s comments. It’s the stamp that George Granville Leveson-Gower, the 1st Duke of Sutherland (1758-1833) used in his armorial bindings. … Continue Reading

Folger Tooltips: Researching Bindings

Man in the moon stamp, STC 20938 Last month Folger Librarian Stephen Enniss announced our public launch of the Folger Bindings Image Collection. Today we introduce Collation readers to the database and describe in a bit more detail some of the available search strategies for those interested in investigating early modern European binding structure and decoration. About the Bindings Image Collection This new database had its earliest incarnation at the Folger nearly twenty years ago in the form of a public exhibition and a now-out-of-print catalog, Fine and Historic Bookbindings from the Folger Shakespeare Library, by Frederick Bearman, Nati Krivatsy, and Frank Mowery.… Continue Reading

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