Skip to main content
Grolier Club Exhibitions

Nineteenth Century

Qur’an (Arabic manuscript).  Istanbul (?), 1784–1785 c.e. 

While the manuscript is dated a.h. 1199, the binding carries the date a.h. 1256 or 1840–1841 c.e.  This Persian/Turkish Islamic binding of black goatskin is decorated with gold and red paint, with red & gold-speckled pale-green endleaves. 

Gift of David Wolfe Bruce, July 1894. 

Cat. no. 4.39.

Book of Hours, Use of Paris (Latin manuscript).  Paris, 1440s. 

Black goatskin, the covers gilt-tooled in a Grolieresque interlace pattern of leaves and tendrils, with a central arabesque containing the titling.  It is the work of Rivière & Son, in Bath, dated 1899. 

Gift of Daniel B. Fearing, 1908. 

Cat. no. 5.34.

John McClintock.  Sketches of Eminent Methodist Ministers.  New York: Carlton & Philips, 1854. 

Varnished and beveled papier-mâché exuberantly decorated black panels cover the publisher’s binding of stippled black leather.  This may be the work of Henry R. Hoffman, successively of Albany and Manhattan, who, as the in-house binder for Carlton & Philips, was also responsible for the trade binding. 

Gift of Robert Fridenberg, 1913. 

Cat. no. 5.21.

William Shakespeare.  Sentiments and Similes of William Shakespeare.  London: Longman, Brown, Green, Longmans, and Roberts, 1857. 

Black tracery covers lined with red paper, a terra-cotta portrait of Shakespeare in a central cameo.  Such covers are often misnamed gutta-percha or papier-mâché.  These are made of much heavier caoutchouc (rubber or India rubber in French) and are Victorian-era decorative art, encountered in mid-century Britain and America. 

Gift of Samuel Putnam Avery, 1901. 

Cat. no. 5.20 b.

Ernest Lefébure.  Embroidery and Lace: Their Manufacture and History from the Remotest Antiquity to the Present Day.  London: Grevel, 1888. 

May Morris, the daughter of William Morris and Jane Burden Morris, created this embroidered binding ca. 1888.  The boards are covered in bright green ribbed silk, worked in a continuous pattern across the covers and spine of floral and leafy sprays with gold and silver bullion.  It is signed .m. at the foot of the spine. 

Gift of Edward G. Kennedy, 1930. 

Cat. no. 5.32.

Silver book cover.  London, 1894/1896. 

Margaret Lilian Simpson created this Art Nouveau electroplate silver cover at the National School of Art, South Kensington, London in December 1894.  It won the gold medal in a national British competition.  Six examples are recorded; its theme is the growth of life.  Lilian Simpson died two years later, aged 25, and is buried in Assisi. 

Purchased at the London Book Fair, 2019. 

Cat. no. 5.46.

G. Wessicken.  Catalogue of the Library of the Princes and Counts of Starhemberg (Latin & German manuscript).  Riedegg, Upper Austria, 1830–1831.

Glazed cherry-red calf with the built-up polychrome armorials of the Starhemberg family, with gilt studded cornerpieces and a gilt spine divided by double false bands.  Characterized as an Austrian bookbinding masterpiece, it remains anonymous and could be the work of a major London bookbinder after 1831. 

Purchased at auction, 1985. 

Cat. no. 5.16.

William Alexander.  The Costume of the Russian Empire.  London: Miller, 1803. 

The red goatskin binding, in a blind- and gilt-tooled panel design with extended floral patterning and double-banded spine, is dated London 1808 in the bottom spine compartment.  It remains anonymous though undoubtedly the work of a prominent West End binder of the era.  The extraordinary endleaves are patterned in gilt hexagons on prepared black paper. 

Gift of Daniel B. Fearing, 1907. 

Cat. no. 5.2.