Reading list

The History of European Binding 1500-1800 (Pickwoad)

This reading list is divided into two parts: those books which will give some essential background and those which will give a wider background to the material covered in the course. Some of the books are more in the nature of catalogues than historical accounts, and they can be dipped into selectively rather than read straight through. They concentrate inevitably on decorated bindings, and therefore give limited information about the standard styles of retail bindings available in any particular country. However, a close study of the illustrations will offer information about the changing shapes of books and the materials used in their construction.

Essential Reading

  1. Cockerell, Douglas, Bookbinding and the Care of Books, London, 1901 (or any subsequent edition)
    This remains the clearest and most concise account of hand bookbinding in the English language
  2. Middleton, Bernard C., A History of English Craft Bookbinding Technique, London, 1978 (or any subsequent edition)
    Middleton's survey of standard retail binding techniques in England has as yet no equivalent for any other European country. It is a pioneering work of great value.
  3. Pollard, Graham, "Changes in the Style of Bookbinding, 1550-1830", in The Library, 5th Series, 11 (June 1965), pp.71-94
    Pollard's article is in many ways the starting point for the history of ordinary bindings. It contains a great deal of information, but also, more importantly, a framework within which this information can be used and interpreted.
  4. Pickwoad, Nicholas, 'The interpretation of bookbinding structure: an examination of the sixteenth-century bindings in the Ramey Collection in the Pierpont Morgan Library', The Library, 6th series, XVII.3, September 1995
    A detailed examination of a single, small, sixteenth-century French library which has survived intact to the present day.
  5. Pickwoad, Nicholas, 'Onwards and Downwards : How bookbinders coped with the printing press 1500-1800', A Millenium of the Book: book design and production 900-1900, ed. Myers and Harris, Winchester, 1994
    An examination of the impact of printing on the ways in which books were bound in the period of the hand printing press.

Suggested Reading

  1. Barber, Giles, "Continental Paper Wrappers and Publishers' Bindings in the 18th Century", in The Book Collector 24 (Spring 1975) pp.37-49
    An important account of these highly ephemeral, and thus today rare, bindings, which then formed a major part of the binding trade.
  2. Barber, Giles, "Brochure, cartonnage, reliure: the provisional protection of print in the later 18th century", in Rousseau and the 18th Century: Essays in Memory of R. A. Leigh, The Voltaire Foundation, 1992
    A survey of the structures and materials found on the cheapest bindings in a collection of 18th-century French books.
  3. Bennett, Stuart, Trade Bookbinding in the British Isles 1660-1800, Newcastle, Delaware and London: Oak Knoll Press and the British Library, 2004
    A very interesting argument in favour of the theory that many more books were sold bound than has previously been thought, (chapters 1 and 2), but to be treated with some caution when it comes to the description of the bindings.
  4. de Bray, Dirk, A Short Instruction in the Binding of Books, Amsterdam, 1977
    This is the second account of European bookbinding (see Faust below), and is published from de Bray's manuscript of 1658 with an English translation. It gives a very detailed account of the basic Dutch bindings executed in the mid-seventeenth century, together with very informative small watercolours of the workshop in action.
  5. Dudin, M., The Art of the Bookbinder and Gilder, Paris 1772. Reprinted in an English translation by the Elmete Press, Leeds, 1977.
    This is a more 'academic' account of binding than de Bray's, but is excellently illustrated, and gives a useful account of French binding of the eighteenth century.
  6. Faust, Anshelmus, Prescription et enseignement de la discrète et fameuse science de la manifacture des relieurs des livres, Brussels, 1987.
    Written in very bad old French and Flemish and published here for the first time with a rather unreliable French 'interpretation', this is the earliest European bookbinding manual known to survive.
  7. Febvre, Lucien and Henri Jean Martin, L'apparition du livre, Paris, 1958. Available in an English translation as The Coming of the Book in various recent paperback editions.
    A book to use with a little caution, as it is now showing its age, but still a useful account of the growth of book production. It is only in the context of this growth that much of the work of the binders makes sense.
  8. Foot, Mirjam, The Henry Davis Gift, vol. 1, London, 1978; vol. 2, London, 1983
    A very useful collection of decorated bindings from all European countries, all illustrated, succinctly described and with information about provenance, etc.
  9. Foot, Mirjam, Bookbinders at Work: their roles and methods, London: British Library and Oak Knoll Press, 2006
  10. Foxon, David, "Stitched books", in The Book Collector 24, (Spring 1975), pp.111-24
    A pioneering study of a much neglected area of book production
  11. Goldschmidt, E, Ph., Gothic and Renaissance Bookbindings, London, 1928 (reprinted edition Amsterdam, 1967)
    Apart from its excellent illustrations, this book gives a great deal of useful information about the production of and trade in books in the century following the invention of printing.
  12. Hobson, A. R. A., Humanists and Bookbindings: The Origins and Diffusion of Humanistic Bookbinding 1459-1559, Cambridge, 1989
    A relatively recent and detailed study of the impact of humanism on the design of books, it covers the introduction of new binding styles and techniques, including gold tooling, from the East into the European tradition.
  13. Hobson, G. D., English Bindings in the Library of J. R. Abbey, London, 1940
    Whilst not easily found, this book illustrates and describes a wide range of English bindings.
  14. Howe, Ellic, A List of London Bookbinders, London, 1950
    The introduction is full of useful information about the London booktrade.
  15. Leighton, Douglas, Canvas and Bookcloth: An Essay on Beginnings, London, 1948.
    A short article, originally published in The Library (June 1948), which discusses the earliest use of canvas as a cheap binding material in the eighteenth century.
  16. Miner, Dorothy, The History of Bookbinding 525-1050 AD, Baltimore, 1957
    One of the more comprehensive bookbinding exhibition catalogues ever produced, with many (small) illustrations far removed from their descriptions. It remains, however, a valuable resource, containing, as it does, examples of almost every major style of decorative bookbinding within one cover.
  17. Needham, Paul, Twelve Centuries of Bookbinding 400 – 1600 (New York/Oxford:Pierpont Morgan Library/Oxford University Press, 1979.
  18. Nixon, Howard M., Broxbourne Library: Styles and Designs of Bookbindings from the 13th to the 20th Century, London, 1956
    A classic in the art of describing bookbindings, though it is concerned primarily with elaborately decorated books.
  19. Nixon, Howard M., "The Memorandum Book of James Coghlan: The Stock of an 18th Century Printer and Binder", in Journal of the Printing Historical Society 6 (1970), pp.33-52
    A detailed description of the activities and equipment of an eighteenth-century binder - information which it is hard to obtain elsewhere.
  20. Nixon, Howard M. and Mirjam M. Foot, The History of Decorated Bookbindings in England, Oxford, 1992.
    A useful and well-illustrated account of the decoration of English books from the earliest surviving examples to the present day.
  21. Pearson, David, English Bookbinding Styles 1450-1800; a handbook, London: British Library; Newcastle, DE.: Oak Knoll Press, 2005
    An excellent guide to standard bindings of the period.
  22. Pearson, David, Durham Bookbinders and Booksellers 1660-1760, Oxford, 1986
    Offers a valuable and detailed insight into the everyday binding trade as found in a single English provincial city.
  23. Pearson, David, Oxford Bookbinding 1500-1640, including a supplement to Neil Ker’s Fragments of Medieval manuscripts used as pastedowns in Oxford bindings, Oxford: Oxford Bibliographical Society, 2000.
    An excellent, cautious and sceptical account of the unusually well-documented work of bookbinders in a single English city over 140 years, which places bookbinding within the wider context of the booktrade.
  24. Pickwoad, Nicholas, 'Some deceptive practices in seventeenth-century English bookbinding' in 'Roger Powell : The Compleat Bookbinder', ed. John Sharpe, Bibliologia , 14, Turnhout, 1996
    Looks at the earliest adhesive bindings and the use of false bands in England in the seventeenth century.
  25. Pickwoad, Nicholas, ‘The Use of Fragments of Medieval Manuscripts in the Construction and Covering of Bindings of Printed Books’, in Interpreting and Collecting Fragments of Medieval Books, ed. Brownrigg and Smith, Los Altos Hills, 2000.
  26. Pickwoad, Nicholas, ‘The History of the False Raised Band’, in Against the Law, ed. Myers, Harris and Mandelbrote, London: British Library and Oak Knoll Books, 2004
  27. Potter, Esther, "The London Bookbinding Trade: From Craft to Industry", in The Library, 6th series, 15 (December 1993), pp. 259-80
    An extremely valuable account of the London trade at the end of the eighteenth and beginning of the ninetenth centuries.
  28. Potter, Esther, ‘To Paul’s Churchyard to treat with a bookbinder’, Property of a Gentleman: the foundation, organisation and dispersal of the private library 1620-1920, Winchester: St Paul’s Bibliographies, 1991
    Explores the business of binding within this period.
  29. Szirmai, J. A., The Archaeology of Medieval Bookbinding, Ashgate Gower, 1999
    As the first detailed account of the technical history of binding in the medieval period, it provides an essential background to the development of bookbinding within the era of the handpress.

Byzantine binding and bookbinding documentation (Boudalis, Velios)

Because the second week of the course combines the study and identification of Byzantine bookbindings and their digital recording, the recommended bibliography follows that combination of fields. However, with the primary focus of the course to bookbinding the reading list for the documentation is limited to some basic reading about the relevant technologies.

Reading list on Byzantine and post-Byzantine bindings
The bibliography on Greek-style bindings of the Byzantine and post-Byzantine era is both limited and highly dispersed. It consists mostly of isolated articles dealing with particular groups of bindings and some of their technical and decorative features. The only systematic and rather big-scale published research so far is the one of Federici & Houlis. The publication of the two volumes of the periodical Βιβλιοαμφιάστης has provided a lot of new material if only in Greek. What follows is a selection of articles and books of varying scientific merit which nevertheless touch upon many of the issues that will be raised in the lectures.

  1. Β. Atsalos, ‘Sur quelques termes relatifs a la reliure des manuscrits grecs’, Actes du XIV Congres International des Etudes Byzantines, Bucuresti 1976, pp. 43-49.
  2. Β. Atsalos, ‘Termes Byzantines relatifs a la decoration des manuscrits Grecs’, I Manoscritti Greci tra riflessione e dibattit. Atti del V Colloquio Internazionale di paleografia Greca (Cremona, 4-10 ottobre 1998), Edizioni Gonnelli, Firenze 2000, pp. 446-511.
  3. E. Baras, J.Irigoin, J. Vezin, ‘Le relieur byzantine’, Le relieur medievale. Trοis conférences d’ initiation, Paris 1978, pp. 23-54.
  4. G. Bosch, J. Carswell, G. Petherbridge, Islamic Bindings and Bookmaking. A catalogue of an exhibition, The Oriental Institute, May 18-August 18, The University of Chicago, 1981.
  5. Y. Boudalis, ‘Influenzias Islámicas en las encuadernaciones Griegas de época post-Bizantina’, Erythia, revista de estudios Bizantinos y neogriegos, No 26 (2005), Madrid, pp. 127-176.
  6. P. Canart, D. Grosdidier de Matons , Ph. Hoffmann, ‘L’ analyse technique des reliures byzantines et la determination de leur origine geographique (Constantinople, Crete, Chypre, Grece)’, Scriture, Libri e Testi nelle Aree Provinciali di Bisanzio, (Erice 18-25 Settembre 1988), Spoleto, Centro Italiano di Studi sull’ Alto Medioevo, 1991, pp. 751-768, and plates I-VIIIb.
  7. C. Federici and K. Houlis, Legature Bizantine Vaticane, Istituto Centrale Patologia del Libro 1988.
  8. D. Grosdidier de Matons and Ph. Hoffman, ‘Un groupe de reliures byzantine provenant du monastere athonite de Kastamonitou’, La legatura dei libri antichi tra conoscenza, valorizazione e tutela (Convegno internazionale, Parma, 16-18 novembre 1989), Bolletino dell’ Istituto Centrale patologoa del Libro. 44-45 (1990-1991), pp. 327-402.
  9. K. Houlis, ‘A research on structural elements of Byzantine bokkbindings’, Ancient and Medieval Book materials and Techniques, (Erice, 18-25 September 1992), Studi e Testi 357, Citta del Vaticano, Biblioteca Apostolica Vaticana, 1993.
  10. M. Maniaci, ‘Che fare del proprio corpus? Part I. ‘Costitutzione e descrizione di una popolazione di libri a fini statistici’, Gazette du Livre Medieval, 22, 1993, pp. 27-37. Part II. ‘L’ osservazione sperimentale e l’ interpretazione dei risultati’, Gazette du Livre Medieval, 23, 1993, pp. 18-27.
  11. G. Petherbridge, ‘Sewing structures and materials: a study in the examination and documentations of Byzantine and post-Byzantine bookbindings’, in Paleographia e Codicologia Greca, Atti del II Colloquio Internazionale (Berlino – Wolfenbüttel) 17-21 Ottoble 1983, Alesandria 1991, pp. 363-408.
  12. B. van Regemorter, ‘La reliure byzantine’, Revue Belge d’ archeologie et d’ histoire de l’art, 36 (1967), pp. 247-312.
  13. J. Szirmai, The Archaeology of Medieval Bookbinding, Ashgate, 1999.
  14. Various authors, ΒΙΒΛΙΟΑΜΦΙΑΣΤΗΣ vols 1 and 2, published in Athens in 1999 and 2004

Bookbinding documentation

  1. HTML tutorial
    Simple HTML online tutorial from the World Wide Web Consortium.
  2. XML tutorial
    Good introductory XML tutorial again from the same source. Please do not feel obliged to follow the full sequence of offered lessons. Complete as many as you feel comfortable if you have time. The basics will be covered during the course.
  3. Lucinda, Dykes and Ed, Tittel. XML for Dummies, 2005
    Part I and Part II of this book will be more than enough to give you a general idea about XML - again read as many chapters as you feel comfortable.
  4. Møller, Anders. An introduction to XML and Web technologies / Anders Møller and Michael I. Schwartzbach. Harlow : Addison-Wesley, 2006. 9780321269669 (pbk.)
    This is quite formal and I would only recommend it to people who are particularly interested in XML, but a lot of the material covered here will not be necessary for you to follow the course.