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Retrospective Bindings

This binding practice uses decorative elements borrowed or inspired from the past. Bindings range from elegant, yet simple, statements to lavish imitations of historical styles and pastiches of ornate decorative elements.

The particularly elaborate and sumptuous retrospective bindings of the nineteenth century reveal a great deal about the state of bookbinding in that period. The book is often portrayed as a work of art and an object of consumption as well as a cultural symbol. Nineteenth century advances in printing technology allowed books to be available to a wider and more literate audience. Publishers issued special editions, or 'editions deluxe' to recapture the early prestige of owning books as precious objects. These special editions are often admired more for their physical qualities than for their intellectual content. The binding and other physical attributes, including the quality of handmade paper and the use of elaborate illustrations, enhance the book as object d'art. The use of gauffered edges (impressions made with a heated tool) on the text block, usually gilded, add another decorative feature to the books of this era.

Two popular retrospective binding styles are based on the work of early binders. The Derome Style uses decorative tools to give the effect of lace. This style is derived from bookbinding techniques introduced at the Parisian workshop of Nicolas Denis Derome (1731-1788?). The Grolieresque style is based on bindings commissioned by Jean Grolier de Servin, Vicomte d'Aguisy (1479-1565), a bibliophile known for one of the most important book collections ever amassed. He commissioned French and Italian bookbinders to produce treasures for his library. Characteristics of these bindings include the use of geometric patterns, and intricate strapwork.

Year: 1887
Reference: Charles Marie Gabriel Cousin (1822-1890). Racontars Illustrés d'un Vieux Collectionneur. Paris: A la Libraire de 'L'Art', 1887. 335 p. 34 x 26 cm.
Description: Grolieresque binding in brown calf with red and dark brown leather inlay strapwork with gilt pointillé and tooling on covers and spine. Decorative gilt center ornament on covers. Gilt decorative rolls on turn-ins. Gauffered edges.
Signed binding. Tooled in gilt: Hermenegildo Miralles 1919; Guérin-Darer.
Gift: Charles Deering
Catalog Record: https://miami-primo.hosted.exlibrisgroup.com/permalink/f/16oedga/01UOML_ALMA21211981650002976

Year: 1830
Reference: George Gordon Byron, Baron Byron (1788-1824). Letters and Journals of Lord Byron: With Notices of his Life, by Thomas Moore. London: John Murray, 1830. 670 p. 29 x 24 cm.
Description: Bound in green morocco with decorative gilt ornaments, rolls and fillets on covers and spine. Gilt coat of arms of Lord Byron in center of covers. Gilt initial 'B' and coronets in corners. Raised bands. Gilt decorative roll on turn-ins. Silk doublures. Top edge gilt. Signed binding. Tooled in gilt: Bound by Wallis.
Binder: Wallis
Gift: Salem Hyde, II.
Catalog Record: https://miami-primo.hosted.exlibrisgroup.com/permalink/f/lrv5ko/01UOML_ALMA21237641330002976

Year: 1693
Reference: Cotton Mather (1663-1728). The Wonders of the Invisible World: Being an Account of the Tryals of Several Witches Lately Executed in New-England... Printed first, at Boston in New England, and reprinted at London, for John Dunton, at the Raven in Poultrey, 1693. 62 p. 20 x 15 cm.
Description: Bound in red morocco with gilt tooled rose corner ornaments within decorative roll and triple or French fillet borders on covers. Raised spine bands. Title in gilt on spine. Gilt decorative roll on turn-ins. Silk moire doublures. Edges stained red.
Signed binding. Tooled in gilt: Bound by Ringer; Finished by Ernst Hertzberg.
Binder: Ringer
Gift: Charles Deering
Catalog Record: https://miami-primo.hosted.exlibrisgroup.com/permalink/f/lrv5ko/01UOML_ALMA21216759440002976

Year: 1928
Reference: D. H. Lawrence (1885-1930). Lady Chatterley's Lover. [n.p.], Privately Printed, 1928. 365 p. 23 x 17 cm.
Description: Bound in black niger goat with gilt corner ornaments within a single gilt fillet border on covers. Raised spine bands. Gilt title and ornaments on spine. Single gilt fillet on turn-ins. Top edge gilt.
Signed binding. Tooled in gilt: Maclehose, Glasgow.
Binder: Macelhose
Catalog Record: https://miami-primo.hosted.exlibrisgroup.com/permalink/f/lrv5ko/01UOML_ALMA21213352600002976

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