Bookbinding and the Conservation of Books
A Dictionary of Descriptive Terminology

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royal bindings

A general term applied to bindings which have a sovereign's arms in the upper or upper and lower covers. Despite the presence of a sovereign's arms, so-called royal bindings did not necessarily have any royal provenance, as such bindings were produced rather frequently, especially in the 16th and 17th centuries. English bookbinders used royal arms indiscriminately as a means of decorating their books well into the 19th century. The blind-stamped bindings produced in the reign of Henry VIII, for example, which are embellished panels of the royal arms, are all trade bindings, as are almost all of the plain calfskin bindings bearing the arms of Queen Elizabeth, or her crowned falcon badge. Large prayer books or Bibles with royal arms may have come from one of the Royal Chapels, or they may have been bound for any (loyal) local parish. (69 )




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