|Horse Race scene painted on the fore-edge of an 1811 version of Songs of Chace|
Image via Boston Public Library site
|Woman and House scene on the fore-edge of Education of Henry Adams|
Today I came across the Boston Public Library's collection of books with fore-edge hand painted artwork. I fell in love not only with the elaborate detail of the paintings themselves, but the way in which the books must be
So these books actually have both a gilt edge to look fancy on the shelf or the reading table and the hidden painted fore-edge to entertain the reader with a scene that may or may not have anything to do with the book's content.
|Man fishing scene on fore-edge of The Lives of Dr. John Donne, Sir Henry Wotton|
The website has a wonderful zoom function that allows you to get a pretty close look at the intricacies of this lost art.
But hold on to your petticoats for one second, because it gets better. There is such a thing as the "Two-Way Double" in which the book's pages, when fanned one way reveal one painted scene and a completely different scene when fanned in the opposite direction.
From there, you have the "Split Double" which has two paintings per fan direction (resulting in a total of four paintings), and finally there is the grandaddy of them all: the ALL EDGE.
There are lots more to look at, my fair petticoat rustlers! Enjoy!
|People Playing Chess scene painted on Analysis of the Game of Chess|