Friday, June 8, 2012

Embroidered Book Covers

You know how it is...you are researching for something online and one thing leads to another...another...
when I came across this blog and her discovery of book binding from the British Library.

 17th century embroidered book cover with sequins.
Embroidered book cover with sequins. 
The Holy Bible (London, 1642)
The British Library holds one of the world's leading collections of fine and historic bindings. Numbering in their thousands, the bindings are included in discrete specialist collections and dispersed individually throughout the Library's holdings.
 So I had to check it out..old books... I refined my search to the ones that have embroidery! I was entranced with the number and the beauty of these book covers. The history and that they are revered and valued in today's world. This has touched me...in the time, love, and skill that someone took to make these glorious pieces. Especially in today's time, when even a real book with pages has lost favor...yes, I am guilty of this too and yes, I finally broke down and purchased a kindle...I so hope you can take a moment and think of the skill that went into and enjoy the beauty of these book covers...
The Whole Book of Psalms London 17c
 There is a hole which would have accommodated a ribbon 
(now lost) passing around the top and bottom cover.
 
England 17c


Pictorial. White and cream satin. In an embroidered binding with silver threads, enclosed in a bag, also embroidered. 1 ribbon tie.
England 16c
Psalmes of Confession


Remnants of 2 pairs of ties.

 Sequins and metallic threads used.

England 16c
New Testament Greek
owner: Elizabeth I, Queen of England (1533-1603)
With the arms of Elizabeth I. White Satin with silver threads.

 
England 17c
The Booke of Common Prayer
Owner: Montague, James, Bishop of Bath and Wells (1568?-1618)
2 pairs of silk ties. Red silk pastedowns

England 17c 
The Holy Bible
Owner: James II, King of England (1633-1701)
With 2 pairs of red ribbon ties

On the website there are 118 pages of embroidered book covers. This is a mere taste of what is there. As I viewed all these covers, I realized that it was just the very wealthy who had books and during that time period most of the reading was done through the church...but I think of the people who hand-made these covers..who where they? servants, court Embroiderers, were they held in high regard for their talents?

So coming back to our time period and what fits into today's world~ can't I make a glorious cover for my kindle..and someday someone might ask Who made this cover for this ancient device??

"Honest differences are often a healthy sign of progress.” 
Mahatma Gandhi

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