Monday, September 7, 2009

Rebacking a 19th Century half-calf book

Flora Rustica, from the library of Charles Haddon Spurgeon. This is a good example of the rebacking of a 19th century half-calf volume. The boards were detached and portions of the spine were missing. Sometimes (particularly with ornately tooled family Bibles or important publisher's cloth bindings) we'll insert new material under the original and put the old spine right back on. On other occasions, replacing the aged leather is more appropriate. This time, we built new boards with new leather corners and spine, used the original cloth sides and leather spine label, and then tooled the new leather to match the old. The result is a book that looks very much like an immaculately preserved original. Spurgeon's bookplate was, of course, carefully lifted from the original pastedown and reattached.

Of interest to some may be the scrap paper the last binder used to line his boards underneath the cloth. They are the paper covers (wraps) and ads from another natural history volume. I'll often use scrap paper from our printer tray. which I'm sure will make interesting reading for someone in 2110.

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