Thursday, 20 March 2014

Scott's Lord of the Isles

Scott's Lord of the Isles. 1857.


This handsome cover design, by John Leighton, is on Scott's Lord iof the Isles, published by Adam and Charles Black in 1857. The cover design is identical to the British Library copy, apart from the cloth dye and grain pattern.

The British Library copy, and a full description of the design, is available to view in the British Library Database of Bookbindings shelfmark C109bb3

The British Library copy is bound in red morocco vertical-cloth. It has a Leighton, Son and Hodge binder's ticket.

The copy above is bound in green morocco horizontal-grain cloth. It is sewn on three tapes. The closer one looks at the details of the design, the more impressive is the amount of fine detail blocked within the central medallion showing the lion rampant. The placement of the title and author letters within the ribbon decoration surroundinbg the medallion must have demanded good skills in registration by the binders. Also intriguing are the recessed panels (probably painted in blaue after blocking). It is possible that the blocking of the cloth covers took place after the covers were attached to the boards and the text block.

As for the spine design, look for yourself and wonder at the amount of precise heraldic motifs packed into a small space.

Written by Edmund M. B. King March 2014

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