Beautiful Bindings in the Shaw Collection

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.

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