The Arcadian Library: Bindings and Provenance, edited by Giles Mandelbrote and Willem de Bruijn

Book – Published 17th Jul 14

The Arcadian Library, based in London, is one of the finest collections of books reflecting European interest in the Arab and Islamic worlds. Among its c.10,000 volumes are many copies with important provenances and fine bindings. In this companion volume to no. 8 in the series, six distinguished authorities on the history of book-collecting and the ownership and use of books, and the history of bookbinding, deal with significant aspects of the Library’s holdings from these varied perspectives. 

The two opening essays, by Alastair Hamilton and Giles Mandelbrote, survey, respectively, notable European and British provenances, including royal, princely, aristocratic and learned owners, celebrated later collectors, and some remarkable annotated copies and copies associated with their authors. 

P.J.M. Marks describes and analyses a wide range of European decorative bindings, with particular emphasis on early German bindings, French work from the sixteenth to the eighteenth century, and the production of nineteenth-century England. Anthony Hobson examines three magnificent sixteenth-century bindings à la fanfare, identifying them as the work of an exceptionally talented binder in the milieu of Gommar Estienne in Paris. 

John-Paul Ghobrial studies the products of the famous Melkite monastery at Shuwayr in Lebanon, and reveals the mix of European and indigenous influences that moulded the style of the local binders. Finally, Nicholas Pickwoad examines a range of commercial binding structures and materials, deploying close physical inspection and forging a precise terminology to reveal careful craftsmanship and technical innovation. Finally, Willem de Bruijn examines a selection of decorative endpapers.

The scholarly essays in this volume are complemented by a very large number of specially commissioned photographs, making available a wealth of comparative evidence and new examples of particular bindings, details of decoration, inscriptions and marks of ownership.



Publication details

Publication status Published
Publication title Studies in the Arcadian Library
Publishers name Oxford University Press and The Arcadian Library
ISBN 9780199654819