B-65. English Bookbindings, 1450–1850: Identification & Interpretation - Advance Reading List
Extensive pre-course reading is not a requirement for this course, which will be taught using examples and images to help build a personal toolkit for recognising and dating bindings. The best preparation will be personal experience of a range of historic bindings, handled in institutional or personal collections, combined with a wish to know more about where and when they were made, and what they might tell us.
David Pearson, English Bookbinding Styles, 1450–1800 (New Castle, DE: Oak Knoll Press, 2014, a slightly revised reissue of the original edition, London and New Castle, 2005) reflects the backbone around which the course is structured, so some familiarity with this is desirable, though it doesn’t need to be read in advance.
Other useful advance reading is:
Foot, Mirjam J. The History of Bookbinding as a Mirror of Society. London: British Library, 1998.
Foot, Mirjam J. Bookbinders at Work: Their Roles and Methods. London: British Library and New Castle, DE: Oak Knoll Press, 2006. Read Chapter 1, “Bibliography and Bookbinding History,” pp. 3–32.
Lock, Margaret. Bookbinding Materials and Techniques, 1700–1920. Toronto: The Canadian Bookbinders and Book Artists Guild, 2003.
Miller, Julia. Books Will Speak Plain: A Handbook for Identifying and Describing Historical Bindings. Ann Arbor, MI: Legacy Press, 2010. Read the Introduction, pp. 1–12.
Pickwoad, Nicholas. “Onward and Downward: How Binders Coped with the Printing Press before 1800.” In A Millennium of the Book: Production, Design, and Illustration in Manuscript and Print, 900–1900, edited by Robin Myers and Michael Harris, 61–106. New Castle, DE: Oak Knoll Press, 1994.
If not already familiar with them, have a look at the following:
Nixon, Howard M. and Mirjam M. Foot. The History of Decorated Bookbinding in England. Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1992.
Nixon, Howard M. Five Centuries of English Bookbinding. London: Scolar Press, 1978.
Foot, Mirjam J. The Henry Davis Gift: A Collection of Bookbindings. Vol. II: A Catalogue of North-European Bindings. London: British Library, 1983.