Les Métamorphoses d'Ovide

Description

This remarkable staining effect known as ‘tree calf’ binding occurs when copperas (iron (II) sulphate) and pearl ash (potassium carbonate) interact to produce a tree-like pattern on the boards. The recipe and technique is believed to have originated in Germany. It involves bending and angling the boards so that when the copperas and pearl ash solutions merge they form rivulets which bleed down the centre of the book. The effect mimics the branches and trunk of a tree. This is an excellent example, and was used to bind George III’s personal copy of Metamorphoses held in the King’s Library.

Full title:
Les Métamorphoses d'Ovide, en Latin, traduites en François, avec des remarques et des explications historiques par l'Abbé Banier; ouvrage enrichi de figures gravées par B. Picart et autres habiles maîtres
Published:
Paris
Created:
1767-71
Format:
Book
Creator:
Ovid, Antoine Banier
Usage terms
Public Domain
Held by
British Library
Shelfmark:
76.f.5-8.

Full catalogue details

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English Landscape Bindings

Article by:
Philippa Marks
Theme:
Antiquarianism

With reference to examples in the Henry Davis Gift, King’s Library and beyond, Philippa Marks explores why topographical views became decorative motifs for 18th – 19th-century English bookbindings.

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