More about blind tooled decoration

After posting the piece about the Kelmscott Chaucer I remembered that one of my first bindings, around 1978, had blind tooled decoration, chiefly because I then had no means of doing anything else. I had no decorative tools, no gold leaf or foil and no knowledge of gold work anyway. But I did have a workbench, some files and some large brass screws. So I filed the heads into two simple shapes, polished the faces and used them on an old bible I had bought in an antique shop in Warwick for £18, with no covers and needing repair, but, surprisingly, complete.

The bible is dated 1608 (a ‘Breeches’ bible) so a design based on Jacobean strapwork seemed appropriate. I think I had seen a Grolier binding from 50 years before which had a similar ‘interlace’ design. The two tools used were made from brass screws.
The gilt title and date were done in an evening class at Leicester Polytechnic using their letters and numbers in a typeholder
Double headbands and leather ‘clasps’.

Other blind work

Left: on a Folio Society copy of Ovid’s Metamorphoses, so a theme of shape-shifting
Centre: an exercise in traditional Gothic style
Right: Virgil’s Works, printed by Jacob Tonson, 1701

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