SOME NOTES ON THE HISTORY DEVELOPMENT OF BOOKBINDERS' STAMPS TOOLS, by Kenneth Hobson KENNETH HOBSON i's an English artist who has worked extensively in Italy, Germany, Spain, etc.; ilhistrated books on travel and other subjects, and whose work has been seen at various London galleries, including the Royal Academy. Prints and progressive proofs ofhis color prints from multiple copper plates haue been acquired by the Print Room of the British Museum. Mr. Hobson is even better known, however, as designer and a director) of the worldfamous London bookbinders, Sangorski Sutcliffe. Fellow apprentices in London during the 1890 s, Francis Sangorski and George Sutcliffe later worked with Douglas Cockerell, starting their own business in 1902. The beauty and craftsmanship of their elaborate bindings brought the partners early and lasting success. Recent commissions include the binding for the monumental American Roll of Honour, now in St. Paul's Cathedral, and the Bible used during the Coronation of Elizabeth II at the Ceremony in Westminster Abbey. To the collector and Student the history of bookbinding design has always pre- sented an absorbing and at times a somewhat bewildering study. It was seldom that Master Binders of the past signed their work and attribution in many cases can only bc decided by provenance and content of the book or manuscript covered. Although this short note is primarily to illustrate the design of some tools and sets of tools which have been devised and engraved by binders through the centuries to adorn, embellish and in some cases to denote ownership of their work, some remarks are necessary on the history and development of the ancient Craft. The earliest books in our sense of the word were inscribed vellum or parch- ment leaves written on the fold, stitched up together 011 heavy thongs of hide, practica!ly bundles of mss., suffering damage in use until the idea was hit upon to provide sides of wooden boards into which the thongs were laced and pegged. This was, of course, a very clumsy affair but developed into a more practical volume when the exposed back was covered with a Strip of leather or hide. Modern binders still use this mediaeval or monkish style for appropnate books. Using beautifully grained polished wood, and tooling the leather back and the exposed portion of the sides, such bindings can be very handsome indeed. It was but a step from this to the complete covering of the wooden boards with leather or fabric. Some of these early füll leather bindings had the hair left 011 the hide and some allowed the leather from one of the Covers to flow out in a sort of apron in which the precious book could be swaddled and carned about without fear of damage. 3 7

Print Magazine en | 1953 | | page 39