This book has a note to the binder that I’ve never seen before: “When these books are sewed and put in boards, it is desired
that they may not be beaten; and it is recommended not to bind them till
next winter.” Houghton’s conservation expert advises me that this refers to the practice of beating the unbound sheets of a book with heavy flat hammers to get the paper perfectly smooth and flat. In a lavishly illustrated book this could have the effect of ruining the plates, and so would be recommended against. But my book has just three illustrations, and was intended for the use of serious readers of Shakespeare, so it’s well printed, but not a particularly fine production. In addition, we don’t know what the significance of waiting until winter to bind the book would be. I’d be interested to hear any suggestions Catablog readers might have to offer; send me an email by clicking on my name just below this post.
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