Old Tricks and Bright Ideas

Dominic Riley

Occasionally we come across techniques that not only save time but are also so simple yet ingenious that we wonder why we haven’t thought of them before. In his presentation Dominic will share some of these favourite tips that he has collected from other bookbinders over the years, and a few he has worked out for himself: tricks for leather paring, inlays, headbanding, sewing, boxmaking, case making, spine lining and more.

Islamic Box Binding

Michael Burke

Islamic box bindings flourished from the 9th – 10th centuries, and enjoyed a brief renaissance in Andalusian Spain during the 15th century. This intriguing structure developed out of the earliest Islamic books and preceded the widespread adoption of the envelope flap binding. These box bindings have wooden boards covered in leather, with extra leather walls to protect and enclose the textblock. Michael will demonstrate the making of a typical Islamic box binding, from the traditional sewing and headbands to the board attachment, and will then show the making of the leather walls.

Rebinding Audubon’s The Birds of America in the Royal Collection

Phillipa Räder

John James Audubon’s immense, four-volume The Birds of America comprises 435 individual hand-coloured plates which were issued on subscription in the UK between 1827 and 1838. One of the original subscriptions was taken out by George IV and continued after his death by Queen Adelaide, wife of his successor William IV. This set was bound c.1840 by John MacKenzie of London and has remained in the Royal Library, Windsor Castle ever since. Over time the combination of poor quality leather, the volumesʼ weight and their particular sewing structure, together with frequent usage, had rendered them unsafe to handle. This presentation will describe the complete conservation and rebinding project successfully undertaken in the Royal Bindery to return them to use.

Barbara Schmelzer

barbara-schmelzerBarbara studied bookbinding at the Buchbinder Kolleg in Stuttgart and obtained her Master Bookbinder qualification at the Berufliches Schulzentrum Alois Senefelder in Munich. She has 25 years of binding experience running her own bookbinderies first in New Zealand and now in Sydney, Australia. She specialises in one-off specialist projects, limited edition bindings and boxes, fine binding, book conservation and restoration and teaches advanced bookbinding. In 2013 she won the Society of Bookbinder’s UK 1st prize for case binding and in October 2018 won the Sydney Rare Book Auction’s Bookbinding Competition.