Byzantine bookbinding


The original binding of Additional 28821, a volume containing Byzantine musical texts, is now kept separately, having detached from the original manuscript at some point in the 20th century. It provides excellent insight into the production of Byzantine-style bindings. The link-stitch chains remain in the spine area, as do the endband sewings, with a classic vertical/diagonal pattern.  Holes in the board centres and corners show the book once had furnishings. The tails of the straps can be seen on the back board, and fastening pins remain at the front foredge.

The binding, when attached to the manuscript, likely was in Ioannina at some point, to judge by an inscription on f. 20v. It was acquired by Ivor Bertie Guest, 1st Baron Wimborne (1835–1914), who sold it to the British Museum in 1871.

Full title:
Byzantine bookbinding
15th century-17th century
Detached binding
Usage terms

Public Domain in most countries other than the UK.

Held by
British Library
Add MS 28821/1

Full catalogue details

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Byzantine bookbindings

Article by:
Ann Tomalak

Ann Tomalak provides an overview of the distinctive features of Byzantine bookbinding.