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Cambridge Bookbindings : A half-leather binding for the University Library, ca.1740-60

Alting, Heinrich 1583-1644

Cambridge Bookbindings

<p style='text-align: justify;'><p>As the eighteenth century progressed, it became increasingly common for binders all over Britain to economise on the costs of full leather by binding books with leather spines, but paper-covered boards (they are known as half-leather bindings if they include leather tips at the outer corners, and quarter-leather bindings if the leather is restricted to the spine). The University Library commissioned many hundreds of bindings like this from the 1730s onwards, often for the rebinding of older volumes in need of repair. They were made with marbled paper on the boards (as here – there are many with this curious, crudely comb-marbled paper), with mottled yellow paper (<a href='/view/PR-B-AST-00005-00016-D'>B*.5.16(D)</a>) , or other similar materials. In 1737, the Library paid William Bonnor £5 14s 9d for binding 270 volumes in this way.</p><p>Pasteboards, bound in half-leather style with thinly-pared calfskin on the spine, and small parchment tips at the corners. Simple gilt-tooling on the spine, with a contemporary goatskin title label; red sprinkled leaf edges.</p><p>Dr David Pearson</p></p>

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