Among the many books in original bindings in Marsh's Library, Dublin, a surprisingly large number are in decorated blind- or gold-tooled, calf, pigskin or goatskin bindings, which date from the 15th to the 19th centuries. The bindings come from all over Europe, ranging from Ireland to eastern Europe. While most were made in England, some fine and interesting examples from Germany, Italy, France, Spain and Holland are also included. In this volume, leading scholar Mirjam Foot first gives an overview of how books were bound by hand and then describes the bindings by country of origin, within each section treating them chronologically and by type of decoration. The detailed descriptions of the bindings are illustrated with 52 black and white photos and 8 colour plates.
'… this is undoubtedly a book that will be welcomed by anyone with an interest in historic bindings, and one that should be on the shelves of any library that supports bibliographical studies.' TLS '… a fascinating case study.' Bookdealer 'This study is quite technical in approach and it holds many interesting insights for the expert. But in the introduction the author gives a good explanation of the techniques of book binding which is useful for the non-expert. Most of all, it showcases some of the treasure to be found in Marsh's Library which will encourage visitors to sample some of the delights of the collection.' Dublin Historical Record 'Book collectors and bookbinders will find Foot's summary of bookbinding techniques valuable in dating or restoring other books of this period… Mirjam M. Foot has documented the Marsh Library collection for researchers, collectors and bookbinders as a reference work. The illustrations, each covering a full page, are well photographed with clear readable details and a few of the books are almost to scale. Written descriptions and historical data are concise, helpful commentary of the illustrations. Although contemporary bookbinders are doing more designer bindings than ornamental bindings, the examples cited are worthy of further scrutiny. This book belongs on any serious bookbinders' or book historians' shelves.' The Canadian Bookbinders and Book Artists Guild 'Publications on fine bindings held by Irish libraries can for the most part be counted on the fingers of one hand. For those interested in the subject almost any publication is eagerly awaited and certainly one written by Professor Mirjam Foot demands a place on our book shelves.' Long Room Journal 'Many fine bindings from across Europe are described and displayed. This book is entirely in keeping with the spirit of the Library's founder in making accessible that which might have been the private preserve of the scholar.' The Bookbinder 'In this book author and subject are well matched: a world-renowned expert on bookbinding and the largely unexplored riches to be found int he various collections at Marsh's Library… This is a well researched and beautiful book. It will be of interest to anyone whose life is devoted to books as researcher, custodian or collector. This study is quite technical in approach and it hold many interesting insights for the expert, but it also gives a good explanation of the techniques of bookbinding which is useful for the non-expert. Historians of the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries will find much to intrigue them, and those with a love of art and decoration will also be drown to this book. Most of all, readers will want to go and see the bindings at first hand in their home at Archbishop Marsh's Library.' Eighteenth Century Ireland 'The book is nicely produced and particular mention should be made of the quality of the illustrations… This book is not only useful as an addition to our record of well-documented bindings, but is also potentially valuable as a catalyst to encourage more people to look at what Marsh's library has to offer to book historians of all sorts.' The Library 'Mirjam Foot is one of the best respected and most prolific of historians of bookbinding alive today, and she has added another volume of interesting and valuable insights into the history of the decoration of the covers of books with this study into the bookbindings in a single library… As an addition to the shelves of any self-respecting bibliographical reference library, this book is a welcome addition.' Rare Books Newsletter
Contents: Introduction; Great Britain; Ireland; France; Spain, Italy and Russia; The Netherlands and Germany; Afterword; Selected literature; Index.