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On the Edge: European Decorated Books

Victorian Bible with gauffered edges

Victorian Bible with gauffered edges

Booksellers and book owners through the centuries have often embellished the inside and outside of their books; for example, with fine bindings, decorative bookplates, or marbled endpapers. The fore edge (the outer, unbound edge of the block of pages of a book) has provided artists and artisans the opportunity to decorate books. Through October 31, Special Collections will display several examples of decorated fore edges from the rare book collections in an exhibit entitled “On the Edge: European Decorated Books.”

The exhibit is located in the Special Collections reference room, 1120 HBLL.  It features examples of painted fore edges from the 17th to 19th centuries, including paintings which can only be seen by fanning out the pages of the book, and examples of gauffered edges, books with gilded edges which have then had a design stamped into them with a heated tool. 

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