The British Library has a dynamite collection of fine and historical bookbindings numbering, evidently, in the thousands, and their online database will happily serve them up, in random groups of 25, for your ogling pleasure. On the whole they are ludicrously beautiful, making those spiffy, redesigned, Penguin Classic’s we’re all so fond of look about as precious as supermarket circulars. To see them for yourself go here and simply click “reselect” to see more.

The site does not offer much, however, by way of supporting historical information, and knowing, as I do, that beautiful pictures just aren’t enough for you “internauts,” and indeed how ravenously hungry you all are for lengthy texts to read in your browser window, I’ve taken the liberty of gathering together a list of related materials which could shed some light on the art and craft of bookbinding. See below. 

Further reading and viewing:

Books
An Inquiry Into the Nature and Form of the Books of the Ancients, c.1837
Bibliopegia: Or, The Art of Bookbinding in All Its Branches, c.1848
Bookbinding Considered as a Fine Art, Mechanical Art, and Manufacture, c.1882
Bookbinding Old and new: Notes of a Book-lover, c.1895
Bookbinding for Amateurs, c.1885
The Art of Bookbinding: A Practical Treatise, c.1890
Modern Bookbinding, Their Design and Decoration, c.1906
Historical Essay on the Art of Bookbinding, c.1883
The Art of Book-binding, Its Rise and Progress, c.1850
A Collection of Facsimiles of Historical & Artistic Book-bindings, c.1889
Examples of the Art of Book-binding, c.1897
The Book, Its History and Development, c.1908
A Short History of Bookbinding, c.1895
Bookbinding in England and France, c.1897

Sites
Publisher’s Bindings Online, 1815-1930
Cyclopaedia: Virtual Bookbinding
Hand Bookbinding: Plain and Simple to Grand and Glorious
American Bookbinders Museum: Tickets & Equipment
Bookbinding and the Conservation of books: Colour Plates & Dictionary.
Deutsches Buchbindermuseum
Netherlands National Museum Special Collection
History of Irish Bookbinding
Scottish Decorative Bookbinding
History of Chinese Bookbinding
Bibliopegia: A History of Bookbinding

Enjoy.

 

01.03. filed under: art. books. design. history. 7