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pasta & books



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We have a couple of historical books at the Jaffe Collection, the likes of
which I've not seen before, and I'm curious if any of you out there have
run into similar books and might perhaps enlighten us all. Both books are
from Spain, one printed in the 16th century, the other in the 18th century.

My curiosity stems from the bindings. The technique seems the same for both
books, and I'm inclined to think the bindings are not original, but were
done at a later date, though certainly not in the recent past. They are
leather-bound, but both books have applied patterns to the leather--not
tooled, but more like surface decorations... not three-dimensional. One has
a design that looks like it was created with quick rotating dabs of a small
brush, the other almost looks like it was marbled, but I don't think that
was the application technique, really. The coloring on both books is the
same: a light brown, smooth leather with a dark brown decoration. In fact,
it may not be leather at all since it's so smooth--perhaps it's vellum?

Enclosed in one book is a card (modern--certainly not written by the
bookbinder) that says this, in Spanish:

        Encuadernacion en Pasta

and I wonder if the design work is somehow done using paste? Indeed, the
older book has the most beautiful pastepaper endpapers I have ever seen.
The other book, however, has marbled pastepapers.

Anyone out there familiar with these things?

John Cutrone
The Arthur and Mata Jaffe Collection
Florida Atlantic University Wimberly Library

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