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Re: Ebony-like binding

It does seem like papier-mache.  Not the stuff we may have done in junior
high school art classes, with flour paste and strips of newsprint, but pulp
and linseed oil, brought to a high temperature and put into hydraulic molds
heated with steam heat.

Body panels on carriages, and the houses for a village (in England) have
been made of this material.  Not many book covers, however, so the few such
books which have survived are reasonably valuable.  I have only seen one.

Bernard Middleton discusses this binding material in his book: _A History
of English Bookbinding Technique_, London, Hafner Publishing Co., 1963.
Pp. 138-39.


>A client brought this by recently: SENTIMENTS AND SIMILES OF WILLIAM
>SHAKESPEARE by Henry Noel Humphreys, published by Longman, Brown, Green
>and Longmans in London in 1851. The boards on first look appear to be
>intricately carved ebony, with a cameo portrait of Shakespeare in the
>center. But on closer inspection, the material is some sort of cast or
>molded, hard, plastic-like material. Some one has suggested this
>is laquered papier-mache, but it seems much too dense. Does anyone have
>any idea what the material is and/or any information about this book?

                             Jack C. Thompson
                    Thompson Conservation Laboratory
                   The Caber Press * Istor Productions
                             7549 N. Fenwick
                           Portland, OR  97217
                        503/735-3942 (voice/fax)


              "Is a half-wit herbalist only parseley sage?"
                                        Don Guyot, 1996

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