For many, seeing fine, handmade books means taking a trip to a library or a museum where they can be appreciated in person. If you can’t or don’t want to make the journey out you’re not out of luck. Many of these collections have digital versions that can let you appreciate the beauty and hard work that goes into creating one of these texts right from your own computer. Here are a few great online exhibits to get you started.
Hand Bookbindings: This online collection pulls out some of the best examples of fine book binding from the collections at Princeton University’s library. Through the main portal you’ll find beautiful high resolution photos and information on books from a range of time periods and cultures. Special sections highlight beautiful closures, edge decorations, tooling and more.
Color Printing in the 19th Century: Page through the sections of this exhibit to read more about the printing processes most common during the 19th century and to see particularly fine examples of them taken from publications held in the University of Delaware Library.
The Fine Art of British Bookbinding: If you want to look at exhibit that features something a little more modern then check out this collection of works from the Lilly Library in Indiana. You’ll see works by several artists commissioned in 1972 that take the art of fine bookbinding in a new direction, creating covers for works that are an extension and accent to the texts within.
Unseen Hands: Women Printers, Binders and Book Designers: This exhibit explores the sometimes hidden role women have played in the fine book world, highlighting images of pages, illustrations, and bindings that are of the highest quality and done by women.
Of course, these online exhibits are only a sampling of the fine work that is up for browsing on the web, so keep your eyes open and you’re likely to come across many more online exhibits collections of fine books.
This post was contributed by Donna Scott, who writes about the best online schools. She welcomes your feedback at DonnaScott9929 [at] yahoo [dot] com.