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Re: medieval English endbands

  Recent arrival for repair and boxing was MS 175.  This is a small (12cm
x8.5cm x5.4cm) ms book of the Laws of England dating to the reign of Edward
I (1290-1300) in its original (or at least contempory) binding.  Alum taw
calf(deer?) stained pink (cochineal?) later stained brown or varnished;
beech or birch boards, double supported sewing on alum taw thong laced into
bds.  Now, the endbands are made of a thin (ca 1mm wide) flat leather strip
wound over a core or primary endband (linen tie downs visible inside center
of each gathering) at an angle and then taken down in vertical stitch
into covering leather on outside of spine in regular alternation with the
slanted windings around the core.  The workmanship is exceptionally neat.
The overall visual effect is of a plaited band.
  Does this sound like anything anyone else has seen?  We have a lot of
early printed books but only a few medieval bindings and I would
appreciate any info.  I don't need to repair the endbands, they are in
wonderful shape, but I am curious about how they were done and how common
this sort of thing may have been.  Any continental examples?
  Dorothy A.

Dorothy C. Africa
bookbinder, Harvard Law School Library

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