The Lost Art of Fore-Edge Artwork (video)

The Lost Art of Fore-Edge Artwork (video) Books as Art For the most part books are now mass-produced, disposable commodities (the construction quality of the average paperback makes that point indisputable).

But there was a time when books were luxuries, and each copy was treated as a work of art. Bookbinders (who were sometimes publishers, but not always) would clad a text in an expensively-tooled leather cover and, sometimes, hire an artist to decorate the edge of book with a painting.

As you can see in the following videos, a fore-edge painting is not visible when a book is closed; instead the book looks like it has gilt, or gold-painted edges.

It is only when the book is opened that you can see the artwork.

According to the Encyclopedia Britannica, this type of artwork was added to books from about 1650 to the late 19th century, when the style began to wane in popularity (perhaps as became more of a utility than a luxury item).

You can find more examples on Twister Sister, AbeBooks, and BostonPublicLibrary.

Boing Boing

Nate Hoffelder

View posts by Nate Hoffelder
Nate Hoffelder is the founder and editor of The Digital Reader: He's here to chew bubble gum and fix broken websites, and he is all out of bubble gum. He has been blogging about indie authors since 2010 while learning new tech skills at the drop of a hat. He fixes author sites, and shares what he learns on The Digital Reader's blog. In his spare time, he fosters dogs for A Forever Home, a local rescue group.

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