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Article Review: Bindings in bindings

In the rich tapestry of bookbinding history, the practice of repurposing old books into new ones has been a longstanding tradition. While much attention has been given to the reuse of pages and certificates, the focus of this exploration is on the intriguing habit of repurposing book bindings themselves. As a seasoned bookbinder and enthusiast, I delve into the fascinating world of reused book bindings, exploring their evolution from the 9th to the 20th century across diverse geographical locations.


The journey into the realm of reused book bindings begins with the examination of B V 14 from the University Library of Basel. This ninth-century manuscript, originally produced in Lorsch, Germany, found its way to the Carthusian Monastery of Basel. The article meticulously dissects the layers of history embedded in the book's binding, revealing transitions from a Carolingian binding to a Gothic rebinding between the 13th and 15th centuries.


A particularly intriguing aspect is the discovery of reused wooden boards, bearing witness to multiple lives as bindings. The analysis involves a meticulous exploration of the holes, grooves, and ropes present on the boards, providing insights into the book's past lives. The narrative navigates through the visible and hidden elements, unraveling the complexities of its evolution.


Astrid Beckers' exploration of reused book bindings is a captivating journey through time and craftsmanship. The meticulous examination of B V 14 showcases a profound understanding of the intricacies involved in unraveling the history of book bindings. The narrative skillfully weaves through the various clues present on the boards, offering readers a front-row seat to the detective work involved in book restoration.


The article's strength lies in its ability to convey complex historical details in an accessible manner, making it a valuable read for both seasoned bookbinders and enthusiasts. The blend of historical context and practical analysis creates a compelling narrative that keeps the reader engaged from start to finish. Astrid Beckers' passion for the subject shines through, adding a personal touch to the exploration of these literary artifacts."

An interesting side note: The article/blog is bilingual. The piece is written in English and Dutch.

In conclusion, "Bindings in Bindings" by Astrid Beckers' is a thought-provoking exploration of the multifaceted lives of book bindings. The article not only unveils the intricacies of a specific manuscript's journey but also invites readers to ponder the broader question of the varied roles these bindings may have played before becoming part of a book. This insightful piece serves as a reminder of the rich history encapsulated within the bindings of books and beckons the reader to appreciate the hidden stories waiting to be discovered.

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