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>The address is:  http://colophon.com/gallery/afeda/maestros

Yes, this is a wonderful exhibit, as well as a well thought out website. The thumbnail heirarchy and pages with binding, colophon and illustration provide an accessible view into the relation between binding design and content.

But please don't turn in your bone folders in the presence of the masters. They wuld be very disappointed if their work inspired anyone to quit rather than to exceed their previous expections under the inspiration of dedicated achievement.

Do take the time to study these and other master bindings in person, wherever you can find them. Feel and smell them, study the construction and craftsmanship as well as the imagery. And remember: French bindings are most often the work of at least three different people: one person designs them (that's the name usually associated with it, like Paul Bonet) someone else constructs them (forwarding) and a third person does the tooling (finishing). Each has spent their life mastering their specialty. If you can't do all three with the level of sophistication that three masters can, please don't take it too personally.

Also, note when examining such books how easily and flat they open. You may find that the pages will not lay down, but stick up in the air. Many of us have been told by collectors, dealers or even the binders, "don't open that book-- it's made for looking at, not for reading."  This is not as true today as it was 20 years ago, but many of the books in this exhibit are from that period. The problem originates in an overlined spine.


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