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The craftsman
Vol. II, No. 1 (April 1902)

Foote, Florence
On the binding of books,   pp. [33]-41 PDF (2.9 MB)


Page [33]


       ON THE BINDING OF BOOKS
X     ITH the coming of the new century has come also
        a revival in the work of the artist-artisan: a Re-
nascence of handicraft in all its various branches; a reaction
from over production; a protest against cheap and time-
saving labor, when such labor means products of which
each part is inferior and the whole of no enduring value.
                         Foremost among the crafts in
which art and manual skill are joined, we find book-bind-
ing springing into a new life of active interest. The bind-
ings of the fifteenth, sixteenth and seventeenth centuries,
fashioned as they were by men whose labor was one of
love, act as a standard of perfection toward which the
binders of to-day, working under less happy conditions,
are tending.             There is, however, one notice-
able feature in the work of the present time which is
worthy of consideration. It is the independence of thought;
the originality of ideas in the decorations of the book,
shown by the breaking away from the influence of historic
ornament, and the working out, by the masters of design,
of their own individual tastes and conceptions. Tr"he tools
used for these designs are no longer exact copies of the
old, but are cut after patterns drawn, either to decorate
harmoniously some special book, or suggestedfbyevarious
forms in nature. Therefore, we have a certain
a spontaneity in the ornamentations of the twentieth cen-
tury books which promises as well for the art of the future,
as the perfection of technical skill does for the craft that
is to be.
                         Three years ago, one of the
greatest binders of the present time, Mr. Cobden-Sander-
son, said: "Women ought to do the best work in book-
binding, for they possess all the essential qualifications of


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