A Machine Made "Gothic" Binding

The Preacher.
Chromolithographs by Owen Jones.
[London]: Longman & Company, 1849. (ACS3169)

This binding provides a prime example of both the Victorian taste for highly decorative “medieval” bindings and of nineteenth-century industrial ingenuity. It is one of a limited number of such bindings made for this edition of the Book of Ecclesiastes, “illuminated” in neo-Gothic style with chromolithographs designed by the noted calligrapher Owen Jones (1809–1874). The light wooden relievo covers, designed by Jones and made by Edmonds & Remnants, London, were produced by heat stamping in a machine press. They effectively imitate the carving on Flamboyant Gothic architecture and church furnishings, even if they bear little resemblance to actual Gothic bookbindings. The upper cover of The Preacher features rich foliate decoration surrounding the calligraphic title, while both covers are framed on the top, left, and right edges by the words, “Vanity of vanities, saith the preacher, all is vanity.” Moulded lengthwise on the narrow leather spine are the words, “Vanity of vanities, all is vanity.” 

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The Nineteenth Century
A Machine Made "Gothic" Binding