A Luttrell Psalter altered again

Back in January I wrote about my rebound version of the excellent Folio Society facsimile of this extraordinary book – excellent except for the publisher’s binding, that is. Well, I have another copy, without the drop-back box and accompanying commentary, so I have had another go.

In the meantime, since January, I have found out a lot more about the original, partly from a copy of the Sotheby’s auction brochure of 1929 and also from the British Library website which has an image of the previous rebinding, done in 1630. That was 300 years after the book was made and, presumably, first bound. A book designed for regular devotional use, such as a psalter might well have needed rebinding well before 1630, perhaps after 150 years – so around 1480. Also, if you look closely at the facsimile pages you can see that the margins were trimmed either when it was re-bound in 1630, or perhaps earlier.

So, a variation on my previous design would be appropriate, still aimed at a late 15th century effect.

I had a skin of goat, pale tan in colour, exactly as it would have been if freshly tanned in 1480. Five double bands on the spine, and blue-and-white sewn headbands would be appropriate, and ‘blind’ decoration on the covers. I like the strong black effect of using carbon paper which produces a much more even result than just using a hot tool on damp leather so I settled on that. Here is the first part of creating the outer panel:

The position of the outer edge of the first panel is determined by the size of the clasp fittings (again bought from Muller). The razor blades are positioned to prevent over-run on the fillet lines. The strip at the top will be for the title lettering.

Outer panel complete – 30 impressions of a rectangular tool actually dating from about 1520, but close enough – you have to work with what you’ve got!

Inner panel completed. Here the tools are perfectly correct: modern copies of English tools from around 1460. The pattern on the left shows where we are going with the design.
Diaper/lozenge framework–

I have not yet decided what to do on the back cover or the spine: any suggestions?

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