The earliest books were the clay tablet and the papyrus roll dating from the 25th century B.C. Early Monastic Orders, guardians of knowledge and culture in the Middle Ages, developed the arts of manuscript writing and binding. As these were literally works of art, early bindings were treasures in a very real sense. Wooden boards used to protect books were decorated with leather, silk and even velvet, often embellished with jewels and precious stones.
In the fifteenth century bookbinding was transferred from the monasteries to the printers shops and later to seperate binding establishments. The art of blind and gold tooling, long practiced in the east was imported and gave bookbinding fresh impetus.
A reaction against the deterioration of quality brought about by the Industrial Revolutioon led to the formation of a group of cabable printers and designers who established private presses and small printing shops who continued with a vigorous determination to produce fine books.
HIstory of Book Binding Part 1
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13 September 2006
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