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Cool Bookbinding images

Check out these bookbinding images:

Binding by Morrell, late 19th or early 20th century
Image by National Library NZ on The Commons
A honeysuckle design is the main feature of this brown goatskin binding, with dots and leaves filling the corners. The leaf design is continued on the spine. The edges and turn-ins are also gold tooled. The upper turn-in is stamped: Morrell binder.

The bookbinding firm Morrell was originally founded by W.T. Morrell in 1861 when he acquired the workshop of Charles Lewis at 17 Frith Street, Soho, London. Morrell’s son W.J. Morrell took over the management in 1887 after his father’s death, and subsequently brought his brother John Morrell into partnership. In 1891 an observer noted that W.J. & J. Morrell, at that time employing 50 people, preferred to bind all their work by hand and the gilding and the marbling of both paper and leathers was also done onsite. A speciality for which they were known were bindings in the Roger Payne style, although this firm was also known for their own creative designs.

Purchased by Alexander H. Turnbull in 1907 from Bernard Quaritch.

Upper cover of Algernon Charles Swinburne, Laus veneris (London: Edward Moxon & Co., 1866 [i.e. ca. 1890]). REng SWIN Laus 1866.

English fine binding, 17th century
Image by National Library NZ on The Commons
This elaborate goatskin binding represents the top end of the market. Many hours of work have gone into creating this ornate design and it would have been prepared either for a wealthy client, or for presentation to a person of standing. Goatskin was the most expensive of the four standard animal skins used for bookbindings and was almost always chosen for high-quality work, because of its durability, its hard, shiny and well-grained surface, and because it can be effectively dyed in a range of colours.

The binder of this volume was possibly John Houlden (d.1670), a Cambridge binder who had strong associations with the University, where this book was printed. Houlden is known to have bound books nearly every year for the University from 1637 until 1662.

This volume was formerly in the library of Lord Amherst of Hackney. It was sold at the Amherst auction on 3 December 1908, where it was purchased by the London bookseller Bernard Quaritch for £39. It was subsequently acquired by Alexander Turnbull.

Upper cover and spine of ‘The book of common prayer [bound with] Holy Bible [and] Whole book of psalms’ ([Cambridge]: Printed by Thomas Buck and Roger Daniel, 1638). fREng BIBLE 1638.

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