Pieces of sheet material placed on the spine, and either adhered to it or held in place without adhesive on the spine either by attachment to the boards or the endbands. Adhesive linings were used to reinforce and preserve the shape of the spine and also to control flexibility and thus the opening characteristics of the bookblock. They were made in a variety of different types and combinations of types, and may be placed within the width of the spine or overlap it and be used to reinforce cover attachment and board attachment. Linings can be made from single pieces of sheet material (continuous, overall, and slotted), matched pairs (comb) or multiple pieces, not always of the same type (transverse, panel and patch), attached to different parts of the spine. Each individual piece may therefore need to be described separately. Linings may also be found in multiple layers of the same or different materials. Adhered spine linings were used on Carolingian bindings (Szirmai 1999,p.126-7) and were in regular use by the fifteenth century (ibid., p.194-5), and became increasingly common after the introduction of printed books. For some reason they were less commonly used in Britain than in continental European countries, and tend to be found in Britain on larger and thicker books only until the late eighteenth century, when their use becomes more widespread. By contrast, they were required by the bookbinders' guild regulations in France from the seventeenth century. Lining types can be used to indicate provenance, as some of them are particularly associated with individual countries.
Spine linings cut to the width of the spine and which extend from (or close to) the head to the tail of the spine. Such linings were often used on smooth spines created by unsupported sewing or recessed-support sewing, but are occasionally found over raised supports, in which case the lining will be moulded over the supports.
A piece of sheet material cut or torn to an irregular shape which does not fill the panel to which it is adhered. Panel linings have only been recorded on British bindings of the late seventeenth and early eighteenth centuries. They seem only to have been used on thicker volumes, and thinner volumes, even within a multi-volume set, will often not have linings.
The parts of a spine lining, endband lining or stuck-on endband lining which extend beyond the width of the spine and may be adhered to the boards, cover or endleaves of a book, or be left free.
Spine linings made of two parts, each of which is slotted along one edge to allow it to be adhered to the spine on each side of the sewing supports, but retaining a continuous lining extension in each joint, giving them the appearance of a comb with very wide 'teeth'. The teeth lie over each other in the spine panels, creating two thicknesses of lining. In French bindings of the seventeenth century and later the linings could then be stiffened by an application of animal glue. Although mostly made of parchment, Italian examples using paper have been recorded from the late sixteenth century. They can be found with both square and tapered teeth. The unslotted, outer halves of each lining, the lining extensions, in the joints, can be found adhered to the inside of the boards of inboard bindings or left unadhered in laced-case bindings. The cases of German one-piece adhesive-case bindings of the early sixteenth century have also been found adhered to comb-lining joints. Comb linings were used in the late middle-ages in both Germany and Italy, though they fell out of use in the former early in the sixteenth century and in the latter by the end of the same century. They were taken up in France in the second quarter of the sixteenth century at a time when Italian binding decoration was fashionable in France, and by the end of the century they had become a standard part of French inboard bindings, and remained so until at least the mid-eighteenth century. In bindings in good condition, they can often be recognised by the presence of the joints, which may adhered to the inside of boards, and by the cut-out around each sewing support along the joints.