Over the last week or so I’ve been playing around with some medieval binding styles on a couple of test volumes. The books themselves, rather than being old books needing restoration as usual, are this time a reprint of a fifteenth-century history of England and the other a manuscript of interesting historical events, both made by myself and therefore of little worry if the binding process should go wrong.
Both are based on examples of 15th and 16th century bindings that I’ve seen, and both use very similar tools to try and achieve different styles.
The first was the small octavo-ish sized manuscript in which I’d recorded all sorts of things I’d seen in 2015, including Waterloo’s bicentenary, Richard III’s funeral, and several other extra odd things I’d been to that are really worthy of a blog post one day.
The second was the largest book I’ve done everything from printing to binding myself since the first binding I ever did – this is a quarto-sized volume of the ‘Cronycles of the Londe of Englond’, which I was reading a copy of online and suddenly thought it would be much easier reading such a long book if it was an actual book.
It was quite a challenge creating the constant wavy-line pattern onto the centres of the boards, since a single quarter-circle tool was used for the entire thing, but in the end I created a checkerboard like grid to guide where the tools should go.
The more time consuming part of this particular book was that I wanted the reprint to be acceptable with the style of the binding, so I spent some time formatting the styling using a 15th century font and then (as I regretted after about ten pages) I decided to rubricate the entire 300 page-long work. The effect, though, is at least authentic.
Adieu, kindest reader!