Secret Fore-Edge Paintings Revealed

Once upon a time, bookbinding was more than just a way to preserve words. Colleen Theisen of the Special Collections & University Archives at the University of Iowa make several moving gif images of books that have artful fore-edge paintings. At rest, the books show the edges of the pages in gold. That's fancy enough, but when you fan those pages just a little, the painting shows up.

Fore-edge painting, which is believed to date back as early as the 1650s, is a way of hiding a painting on the edge of a book so that it can only be seen when the pages are fanned out. There are even books that have double fore-edge paintings, where a different image can be seen by flipping the book over and fanning the pages in the opposite direction.

When I realized the book Theisen shared was only one of a series about the seasons, I got in touch and she agreed to photograph the other three so we could share them with you here.

See the books demonstrated at Colossal. Link -via Laughing Squid

Commenting is closed.

Email This Post to a Friend
"Secret Fore-Edge Paintings Revealed"

Separate multiple emails with a comma. Limit 5.


Success! Your email has been sent!

close window

This website uses cookies.

This website uses cookies to improve user experience. By using this website you consent to all cookies in accordance with our Privacy Policy.

I agree
Learn More