The John MacKay Shaw Childhood in Poetry Collection is the home of thousands of books which means that it is also the home of thousands of bindings. A lot of the time, the binding of a book is overlooked so, seeing as I have spent the last couple of months studying the books and bindings found within the Shaw Collection, I have made a list of some of the most beautiful bindings I have seen. There are a lot of bindings that I did not include in this list, because, if I did, this list would be endless.
The Book of Nonsense by Edward Lear has a green binding with engraved lettering that is filled with black ink and gold leaf.
The image in the binding of Angels’ Whispers was printed on a piece of paper and glued to the binding. The delicate colors and intricate calligraphy make this binding a piece of art.
The binding of The Child’s Garland of Little Poems is truly a piece of art. The engraved lettering and decor filled with gold leaf, plus the painted flowers in the center make this one of the most unique bindings I have seen.
Evermore is a binding that looks handpainted even though it is an image printed onto a piece of paper.
Hymns for Little Children has one of the more intricate bindings. It has a lot of engraving, gold leaf, and black ink.
Next time you read a book take a look at its binding – you may realize that it too is a piece of art. I have shown only a small number of bindings from the Shaw Collection but there are other books in Special Collections that have beautiful bindings. You can visit Special Collections to take a look at some of these bindings in person and realize how valuable and artistic they can be.