52 Weeks of Fantastic Bindings, Week 37: a 19th century hand-painted binding
This week’s binding highlight is a small, precious thing found by our reading room staff whilst doing shelf-checking in the Reserve Collection. It is the 1854 printing (5th edition) of Jean-Baptiste (or Abbé) Duchaine’s Les trois frères écossais,a children’s adventure novel.
This book was printed by Mame et Cie, Imprimeurs-Libraires, a French publishing house run by the Mame family which began in 1779 in Angers, France and moved to Paris in 1807.
St Andrew’s copy (found at rPQ2220.D73T8) has been bound in hand-painted embossed paper over boards, decorated with a coloured pattern of roses and gold decorated border around a central panel on both boards. A coloured chromo-lithographic illustration has been pasted into the central panel on the front cover, depicting the three brothers boarding a ship. The central panel on the back has been further decorated with the same rose motif, and the spine has been hand-painted as well; also, the turn-ins have been decorated with a gold-pattern which appears to have been done by hand.
This children’s novel, featuring three Scottish brothers’ adventures around the world, is illustrated with many plates engraved by Louis Marckl and Adrien Charles Danois. It is a lovely item to hold, and the combination of the binding and the engravings make this a great page-turner. This book was purchased in 1958 from the library of James Bell Salmond, LL.D.