A Short History of Book-Binding;-
The Ancient Craft of Book-Binding has been around a few thousand years, and very little has changed. This Ancient Craft of Book-Binding is dying out, and a highly skilled trade that is no longer taught in the many national libraries of the world. The leading book-binders have long since passed away and so has their art, Men like Roger Payne, Sangorski & Sutcliffe, Robert Riviere are but only a few. Really we must pay homage to the Monastic Bindings and Binders for the ancient craft of book-binding. Binding of books was the last stage in producing a handwritten manuscript. A book was not yet ready for the customer when the artist had completed the illumination, and the writer, usually a Monk was finished. The skins, called vellum were still in loose gatherings and perhaps even dismembered further into separate pairs of leaves. All these skin leaves had to be collected up, reassembled into some sort of order, held together in some serviceable binding. In the late Middle Ages this would be the task of the stationer or bookseller and when a commercial bookbinder can be identified by name, he often proves to have been a stationer. This was the person who had taken the order for the manuscript in the first place and who had distributed the gatherings among the illuminators of the town. It was now the stationer's task to call in the various parts of the book, clean them up erasing guide words and smudges left over from the various stages of manufacture, assemble them in sequence according to the signatures or catchwords, and to bind the book for the client. In the earlier Middle Ages, when books were mostly made by Monks, the binding was carried out by whatever member of the community was able to do so. Quite often catalogues of monastic libraries include a shelf or two of unbound books, which presumably means stitched into some kind of wrappers rather than literally in loose quires. From the earliest times when manuscripts were first made in book form, rather than as rolls or tablets, the gatherings were held together by sewing thread through the central fold. The book is a stack of gatherings joined one to another with the sewing of the first and last gatherings knotted into the covers. Greek and Oriental bindings were basically like this, and so were the earliest monastic bindings of western Europe.
The boards of medieval manuscripts were generally made of wood. Oak was commonly used in England and France; beech was usual in Italy, or pine, and bound Italian manuscripts feel lighter than northern books. Occasionally the boards were made of leather. The use of pasteboards, a kind of cardboard formed of layers of waste paper or parchment glued together, can be followed infrequently through the Middle Ages and from the late fourteenth century became more and more common in southern Europe, in Spain and into Italy in Bologna, Milan, and later Padua. The boards, of whatever material, were squared up into the shape of the book. In earlier manuscripts the boards were cut flush with the edges of the pages; after about 1200 they began to project beyond the edges and were often bevelled on their edges. The bands on the back of the sewn gatherings were threaded into the boards. Frequently some kinds of flyleaves were added at each end of the book, sometimes reusing waste leaves of old obsolete manuscripts. The bands can be attached into the boards by several methods, varying with time and place, but the basic method is the same. The ends of the bands were secured into the boards by hammering in wooden pegs or, sometimes in Italy, with nails. The manuscript is now within plain boards, and was usable left like this. Usually, however, the outside of the book was covered with leather, tanned, and sometimes dyed. On a few Carolingian books, bindings have simple stamped patterns on the leather. There was a fashion for stamped bindings in northern France in the later twelfth century, and bindings ornamented with little tools exist but are unusual from the thirteenth and fourteenth century. Then around 1450 the practice became much more common. Sides of bindings from then on were frequently ornamented with repeated impressions of floral or animal devices. Medieval books were sometimes enclosed further in loose jackets, called chemise, which wrap around the fore-edge and keep out the dust. Far more frequently than the surviving medieval bindings suggest, manuscripts may have been covered with textiles and brocades or with precious metals and jewels or with enamels or paintings. Many books were bound in intricately inlaid multicoloured leather, and often set with real gold, jewels, and semi-precious stones. Medieval inventories often describe bindings, since the outside of a book is a simple guide to its recognition, and give the impression that the private libraries of rich men or the treasuries of great churches were filled with multicoloured and elaborate and precious bindings.
Parchment;- is made from the skin of an animal.
Papyrus;- is a type of paper made from the pith of the papyrus plant.
Paper;- was a Chinese invention probably of the second century and the technique of paper-making spent a thousand years slowly working its way through the Arab world to the West.
Ruling Lines;- were ruled on the pages of medieval manuscripts as a guide for the script.
Pen;- A split reed, termed calamus in Latin (qalam in Arabic), was used to write on papyrus during Antiquity; a frayed reed was used as a brush.
Ink;-The word derives from Latin encaustum ("burnt in"), since the gallic and tannic acids in ink and the oxidation of its ingredients cause it to eat into the writing surface. The basis of medieval ink was a solution of gall (from gallnuts) and gum, coloured by the addition of carbon (lampblack) and/or iron salts. The ferrous ink produced by iron salts sometimes faded to a red-brown or yellow. Copper salts were occasionally used too, sometimes fading to grey-green. Ink was used for drawing and ruling as well as for writing and, when diluted, could be applied with a brush as a wash.
Pigments;-The range of colours available to the medieval manuscript painter was surprisingly large. Red, for example, could be natural cinnabar, mercuric sulphide, found since classical times in Spain and at Monte Amiata, near Siena, and elsewhere. Vermilion is similar in chemical composition, and was made from heating mercury with sulphur and then by collecting and grinding the deposits of vapour formed during the heating process. It is very poisonous, and so the old artist's trick of bringing a brush to a fine point by licking it was a calculated risk. Alternatively, red pigment can be made from plant extracts. Brazilwood has already been mentioned in connection with red ink. Madder, a rather pure red, is made from the root of the madder plant, which grows wild in Italy. A romantically named red, widely used in book-decoration, was dragon's blood, described in medieval encyclopaedias as a pigment formed not merely from dragons but from the mingling of the blood of elephants and dragons which have killed each other in battle. Botanists assert that it comes from the sap of the shrub Pterocarpus draco. Blue is the second most common colour in medieval manuscripts, after red. Probably its most common colour source was azurite, a blue stone rich in copper, found in many countries of Europe. It is very hard, and has to be smashed and then ground patiently with mortar and pestle until it slowly and dustily turns to powder. Another blue, much more of a violet blue, was made from the seeds of the plant tumsole, now called Crozophora. But the blue prized above all others was ultramarine, blue from far beyond the sea, made from lapis lazuli, found naturally only in the region of Afghanistan. The journey that this stone must have taken to reach Europe is almost unimaginable, for it was available long before the time of Marco Polo, and it must have passed in bags from one camel train to another, to carts, and ships, a medium of commerce over and over again, before finally being purchased at enormous expense from the apothecaries of northern Europe. Good blue paint was valuable. Other pigments included green from malachite or from verdigris, yellow from volcanic earth or from saffron, white from white lead, and so on. There were several techniques of mixing pigments into paints. Both white of egg (egg glair) and yellow of egg (egg tempera) were common, egg being a very effective glue. Gums too were made from air bladder of the sturgeon or from animal size made usually by boiling up pieces of skin. The grinding and the mixing and the tempering of paints were essential prerequisites to the decorating of illuminated manuscripts.
Manuscript Illumination;- The earliest surviving illuminated manuscripts date from the fifth century, but books and scrolls were already decorated in the classical world. Papyrus rolls were probably illustrated in ancient Egypt and Greece, and Varro and Martial, for example, describe author portraits in Roman manuscripts. The great rise of manuscript illumination, however, was triggered by the invention of the "book", that is, the change from papyrus rolls to codices that consisted of bound parchment leaves. This change took place gradually between the second and fourth centuries A.D. Book illumination remained one of the most flourishing forms of art until the sixteenth century when the luxuriously decorated, hand-written codices were gradually replaced by the printed book.
The Ancient Greeks loved sport and all cities in Ancient Greece had public gymnasiums where people gathered to train and relax. The Greeks believed that a healthy body was very important. Most boys and men practised sports every day because they enjoyed them and wanted to keep fit. Sport was also essential preparation for War. The Greek armies had to be fit enough to march long distances, carrying all their heavy equipment, and then begin a brutal fight with their enemies. The Greeks had four national Sports Festivals, where athletes from different city states competed against one another. The most important of the sports contests were the Olympics. Women were not allowed to attend or to participate in any Sport because boys or men did not wear any clothing when they competed in the Sport Events.
The History of Sports goes back really to the beginning of man, and the beginnings of military training, as a means to determine whether boys were fit and useful for service to their Lords and Masters. Team sports was developed to train and prove the capability to fight and work together as a team or unit of an army. Sport developed basic human skills, of play and competition for the best and strongest. Sports were always competitive from its early days, winning athletes were treated as heroes who put their countries and home towns on the map, winners acquired great wealthy, becoming very powerful. A few early Sports were Wrestling, Diving, and Swimming, Running and Jumping, The Long Jump, Javelin Throwing, Horse Racing, Archery, Boxing, Gymnastic, Football, Hurling even Polo. Gymnastics in general were originated from ancient civilisations and at the beginning it was set of training methods deployed for military training and fighting.
Sports or Games of throwing and catching, or contests in running, jumping and fighting, are likely to be as old as humanity itself. We know that wall paintings in an Egyptian tomb at Beni Hasan, dating from about 1850 BC, include numerous pictures of wrestling with most of the holds and falls still used today. In the tomb of an Egyptian child, probably of a slightly earlier date, a set of skittles has been found which are no different in principle from ten-pin bowling. But not until the heyday of Greece does sport play the central role which it occupies in modern society. Another Sport for early man, was hunting, hunting was a necessity. Man’s quarry provided not only food from the meat but clothing from the skins, and material for tools from the bones, horns, and hooves. Hunting sport that involves the seeking, pursuing, and killing of wild animals and birds, called game and game birds. This same technique that was used and perfected in hunting was also used in war against an opposing army. Falconry was another sport, a prayer was added to the Lord’s Prayer: “Give us this day our daily hart in the pride of grease.”
Sports played an essential part in the Roman and Greek Empires. With their ability to assimilate, the Romans transformed the ritual nature of Greek sports into a spectator entertainment. Unlike Greek sports, Roman sports were heavily male chauvinistic, boasting great strength and athleticism, while being brutally violent. Many amphitheaters had for wild animals and had rooms for wild animals and religious chapels for athletes to pray in, before their battles, which very often resulted in their bloodied deaths. The most popular sports in all of the Roman Empire were boxing, chariot racing, and gladiator battles. Boxing gloves made of ox-hides covered the palm of the hand, exposing the fingers. Chariot Racing, these games were held in Circus Maximus, a giant oval stadium that seated 200,000 spectators. The most influential and popular Roman sport was the gladiator battles. The most brutal and bloodiest of all sports.
We here at www.felixrarebooks.com have a number of early Sport Books, the earliest is “Country Contentments” of 1631, which covers, Hunting, Hawking, Coursing with Greyhounds, Shooting, Longbow, Bowling, Tennis, Baloone, Angling, Fighting Cocks. Also we have “Manual of British Rural Sports”. by Stonehenge 1856, Illustrated;- Angling by Samuel Taylor, 1800;- A two volume set of “The Encyclopaedia of Sport” by Hedley Peek in 1897;- and a dozen more Sport Books. Please check out our website for these collectable Sports Books.
Early Travel Books
Early Travel guide books are books of information about a place, its country, its people, where the writer, travelled to. The travel book will usually include full details relating to accommodation, types of foods, restaurants and transportation. Important activities within the country, subject of the travel book. At the time only people of wealth could afford to travel away from their homes and visit other countries. At that time, many countries were at war, or some other local disputes. An early travel book would share information about what areas and countries were safe to visit. Most travel books had Maps, or fold-out Maps, engravings of varying details of historical buildings, like castles, grand houses, and Cathedrals, historical and cultural information were always included.
The up to date travel book really emerged in the early 1830s, with the burgeoning market for long distance tourism. The main publisher in England at that time was John Murray, who began printing the Murray's Handbooks for Travellers in London from 1836 on. The series covered tourist destinations in Europe, East and West, the Far East, Northern Africa, the Americas, North and South. John Murray introduced the concept of sights which he rated in terms of their significance.
One of the most influential and earliest travel books were the travel books published by Karl Baedeker. Karl Baedeker covered most known countries in different languages. In Germany, in the early 1820s Karl Baedeker acquired the publishing house of Franz Friedrich Röhling in Koblenz, which in 1828 had published a handbook for travellers by Professor Johannes August Klein entitled Rheinreise von Mainz bis Cöln; ein Handbuch für Schnellreisende. A Rhine Journey from Mainz to Cologne; A Handbook for Travellers on the Move. Karl Baedeker published this book with little changes for the next ten years, which provided the seeds for Baedeker's new approach to travel guides. After Klein died, he decided to publish a new edition in 1839, to which he added many of his own ideas on what he thought a travel guide should offer the traveller. Baedeker's ultimate aim was to free the traveller from having to look for information anywhere outside the travel guide; whether about routes, transport, accommodation, restaurants, tipping, sights, walks or prices. Baedeker emulated the style of John Murray's guidebooks, but included unprecedented detailed information.
In 1846, Baedeker introduced his famous 'star' ratings for sights, attractions and lodgings - an idea based on the John Murray’s guides star system. This edition was also his first 'experimental' red guide. He also decided to call his travel guides 'Handbooks', following the example of John Murray. Baedeker's early guides had tan covers, but from 1856 onwards, Murray's red bindings and gilt lettering became the familiar hallmark of all Baedeker guides as well, and the content became famous for its clarity, detail and accuracy. Many of Karl Baedeker books are highly collectable. Baedeker and Murray produced impersonal, objective guides; works prior to this combined factual information and personal sentimental reflection. The availability of the books by Baedeker and Murray helped sharpen and formalise the complementary genre of the personal travelogue, which was freed from the burden of serving as a guide book. The Karl Baedeker and John Murray guide books were hugely popular and were standard resources for travellers well into the 20th century. Every Englishman abroad carries a John Murray for information, and a Lord Byron book for sentiment, and finds out by them what he is to know and feel by every step." During World War I the two editors of Baedeker's English-language titles left the company and acquired the rights to Murray's Handbooks; the resulting guide books, called the Blue Guides to distinguish them from the red-covered Baedekers, constituted one of the major guide book series for much of the 20th century and are still published today.
We here at www.felixrarebooks.com have Hundreds of different travel books covering most known countries in the world, our range of travel books start at the excessively scarce 1488 incunable of Sir.John Mandeville's Voyages in the Orient to Travel books into 1950s. Many by John Murray, Karl Baedeker and many more, all collectable. ranging in price of $270,000 to $50… Please look at our wide range of Travel Books on our website www.felixrarebooks.com Enjoy Felix
In the coming weeks we here at felixrarebooks.com will be putting our small collection of early 17th. 18th. century pamphlets on our website. Below useful notes on Pamphlets and Pamphleteers;-
A pamphlet is an unbound booklet that is, usually without a hard cover or binding. The pamphlet may consist of a single sheet of paper that is printed on both sides and folded in half, in thirds, or in fourths, called a leaflet, or it may consist of a few pages that are folded in half and saddle stapled at the crease to make a simple booklet.
Ephemeral and to wide array of political or religious perspectives given voice by the format's ease of production, original pamphlets are highly prized by many book collectors and libraries.
A tract concerning a contemporary issue was a product of the heated arguments leading to the English Civil War; 1642 – 1651, many of these Pamphlets started to appear before 1642. In the early summer of 1642 these national troubles were helped greatly by outrageous Pamphlets and their Pamphleteer which polarise opinions on both sides of the English Civil War, ending indecision about which side to support or what action to take. Opposition to Charles 1 also arose owing to many local grievances.
Pamphlets and Pamphleteer have caused political revolutions, Pamphlets can contain anything from attacks on religious leaders, religion itself, royal families, politicians and religious treatises. Pamphlets have also long been an important tool of political protest and political campaigning for similar reasons. A pamphleteer is a historical term for someone who produces or distributes pamphlets,
pamphlets have often been used to popularise political or religious ideas and people.
Early Pamphlets are exceptionally rare, Pamphlets from the 17th. century or older are rarer to find, due to the fact that after they were published and read, they most often were used as toilet paper because there was no toilet paper to be had at the time. The purpose of Pamphlets was to defend or attack a certain perspective or idea or important people, like kings, popes, religious leaders. Pamphlet wars have occurred multiple times throughout history, as both social and political platforms. Pamphlet wars became viable platforms for this protracted discussion with the advent and spread of the printing press. Cheap printing presses, and increased literacy made the late 17th century a key stepping stone for the development of pamphlet wars, a period of prolific use of this type of debate. Over 2200 pamphlets were published between 1600-1715 alone.
An example of famous pamphleteers, Martin Luther was one of the earliest and most effective pamphleteers. Daniel Defoe was an English trader, writer, journalist, pamphleteer, and spy, most famous for his novel Robinson Crusoe. Others included all the great english writers, like John Milton, English poet, pamphleteer, and historian, Thomas Hobbes, an English philosopher. Oliver Cromwell was another as was Thomas Paine an English American writer and pamphleteer and hundreds more. Also many Famous writers and Poets also wrote pamphlets anonymously, considered at the time to be scandalous, bordering on high treason.
Please look under Ephemera & Ephemera 2 to see our small collection from the 17th. & 18th. Century.
Greetings, To all our loyal readers, fellow book lovers of our Blog page, for help in deciphering our Codex, our problems are the following.
1. We have six pages with Three Triangles in gold in the far left corner of six pages, almost ever second page the Three Triangles appears. In each of the Triangles in gold the Three Triangles shift subtlety, as can be seen in the scan above. We believe this is some sort of code that maybe has a hidden message to unlock the Codex.
The second problem we need help from our readers are the type of lettering used, we know some of the letters are Greek, and Copic and some aren’t, also there are the use of some sort of Cartouches with symbols within all pages, scattered among the lettering used over many vellum pages. We feel a bit of detective work by our readers will greatly help with identifying our Codex…
An update on the tenth engraving of the two boys, in a tender moment, we have determined that some of the letting indicates possibly the name -Alexander, (Alexander the Great) judging by the lettering below the engraving of the two sitting boys. It reads…A-H-N-T-A-X-A-N-A- (see my notes on the tenth image)
Any input to any of the vellum pages of our Codex by a reader would be most grateful, please any useful comments or corrections can be send directly to me at firstname.lastname@example.org We here at felixrarebooks.com would appreciate all the help we can get, to decipher this unique Codex. Collecting rare books are not just about buying or having a rare book, it also involves research of both the book and its subject, in addition, books are also about the printer, the country of printing, the artist/writer, very important, the rare books general history, itself. A Book is our collective history, the book connects us to our past, to the greats, history itself. Our shared heritage a written record if you wish, all that has passed the centuries before. Books in many different languages and ideas, that were passed down through book-form from preceding generations. Cultural Heritage which was an expression of the many ways of living, developed by a shared community and passed on in book- form from generation to generation, from century to century, including many different customs, ideas, practices, places, objects, artistic expressions and human values.
I fear with the new technology that the printed book will disappear, only to be found in antiquarian libraries by future generations, I hope not in my lifetime, but sadly, maybe in the lifetime of my grandchildren, most certainly in the lifetime of their grandchildren.