Reed Gallery exhibition showcases diverse examples of bookbindings

By Julian Smith | Posted: Tuesday July 18, 2017

The latest Reed Gallery exhibition at Dunedin Public Library explores the outer covers of books - their bindings.

The donor of the Reed Collection, A.H. Reed, took a broad approach to collecting, amassing a collection of books whose temporal parameters ranged from the late fifteenth into the twentieth century.

On show are books bound in vellum and traditional leathers: calfskin, sheepskin, pigskin and morocco, ranging from functionally plain to stylishly ornate.

Unusual or rare binding materials, including Mauchline ware, tortoiseshell, wood, silk, velvet and hemp are included along with interesting binding features such as gold and blind tooling, gauffered edges, and doubloures.

The use of paper as a book covering features, and the Victorian era shift towards decorative publishers’ bindings in cloth is highlighted, with a range of nineteenth century linen-bound coverings of numerous colours, subtly varying grains, and manifold degrees of decoration.

The exhibition includes three fine bindings by early twentieth century Dunedin-based bookbinder Mary Eleanor Joachim, who learnt her trade with the prominent London bookbinders Sangorski & Sutcliffe.

The Reed Gallery is located on the Third Floor of the City Library. The exhibition is free and open to the public.

Plain to Ornate: Bookbindings from the Reed Collection
21 July 2017 to 8 October 2017, Reed Gallery

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