19th Century Half Leather Library Binding Part 2 of 4 // Adventures in Bookbinding

19th Century Half Leather Library Binding Part 2 of 4 // Adventures in Bookbinding

This series of 3 videos will cover the construction of a robust half leather binding used for library books in the 19th and early 20th century in England. The design is a combination of techniques covered in 3 books, Advanced Bookbinding by J. Kay (1932), The Thames and Hudson Manual of Bookbinding by Arthur Johnson (1978), and Bookbinding by William Matthews (1929). The characteristics are split board attachment, tight-back binding with tape supports, a wide French groove joint, minimal edge paring of leather and no paring of the joints. The minimal paring make it an excellent introduction to leather binding.

This second video will cover backing, lining the spine, and attaching the split boards.

The DAS Bookbinding Channel is the perfect starting point for learning bookbinding. It covers foundation skills, simple projects, technical methods, materials and more advanced bookbinding projects. The videos are presented in a tutorial or lesson fashion, which I hope are easy to follow. The knowledge presented is based on traditional techniques which can be used to create traditional books or as a foundation to quality journalling or creative artists’ books. The best way to find what you are looking for is the DAS Bookbinding YouTube Channel guide.
YouTube Channel

The music used in this video is performed by Jon Sayles. Jon has some great classical guitar music on his website, which he shares freely.

When we think of Japanese porcelain, we quite often think of brightly coloured Imari, but not all Japanese Imari was brightly coloured.

One famous early 19th century porcelain maker at Seto, in Japans Aichi Prefecture, decorated his porcelain in a very distinctive sapphire blue, with typical naturalistic, Zen influenced subjects, such as grasses overhung by pines, weathered rock formations with willows and wind blown trees.

“Seto” itself refers to both the city and the style of ceramics that originated there. Seto is also one of Japan’s famous “six old kilns”. Porcelain came to Seto rather late. It first appeared in the beginning of the 19th century when Kato Tamikichi returned to Seto from Kyushu Island and successfully fired cobalt blue-decorated porcelain, Tamikichi is, in fact, regarded as “the father of porcelain” in the Seto region

However, to see the larger picture, we need to look across the long history of Japanese art and design, to see some of the many influences, both internal and external which have contributed to today’s recognizable “Japanese design”.

Until Admiral Perry’s opening of Japan to the West (1854) with its both positive and negative results, Japanese art and design was almost unknown to the Western world.  Perry’s encounter with Japan opened the flood gates to an East / West exchange of ideas, rarely seen before. It was within a decade that Japanese design concepts arrived in the West.

 Two outstanding names will serve to illustrate this influence on Western art. James Whistler, the great American / British painter of the mid to late 19th century. He was one of the first westerners to be influenced by the artistic tradition of Japan and he developed a rather aesthetic response to living, he particularly admired the Japanese artistic attitude to not distinguishing between fine and decorative art. His appreciation of this led Whistler to a wide range of artistic pursuits, heavily influenced by his newfound “art of Japan”.  

The second example is the master of French impressionism, Claude Monet. We do not know if the famous story of Monet’s discovery of Japanese art is true, or anecdotal! But legend has it that Monet has fled to Amsterdam to escape the 1871 Prussian siege of Paris. There, or, so the story goes, he observed some Japanese block prints being used in a food shop as wrapping paper, he could not believe what he was seeing, so impressed was he, that he purchased all available, . The purchase changed his life — and the history of Western art.

Monet was never shy about his fascination with Japan and its art and 1876, five years after that visit to the Dutch food shop, he painted “La Japonaise”, showing his first wife Camille in a kimono against a background decorated with uchiwa (Japanese paper fans). At Giverny, where he moved in 1883 at age 42, he built a Japanese bridge over a Japanese pond in a Japanese garden, and he spent the rest of his life painting that private paradise — and especially its water lilies.

Not only Western art was influenced by Japan, but, interiors, fashion and all forms of art, style and design. This exchange of ideas was two way, with Weston design concepts being used in Japan. Perhaps for that reason Impressionism caught on early in Japan and still remains highly popular.  This exchange of ideas was seen, particularly in the porcelain produced by the great Japanese ceramics kilns, with its one thousand year old tradition.

Japanese porcelain and pottery, until the opening of Japan to the West, was both traditional and highly aesthetic, understood, only by, the then, insular and very conservative, Japanese society. The overriding concept was to hold to the rigidly, proscribed forms.

This highly aesthetic style was not understood by a Western audience and it soon became apparent that changes needed to be made for a Western export market to succeed. By example, the Western market is very familiar with Japanese “Imari” porcelain, with its’ bright pallet of colours, primarily based on iron red and underglaze cobalt blue, this always forms the basic Imari pallet, which can then have a range of additional colours added.

This popular Japanese porcelain is called “Imari” due to the fact that it was exported by its various makers through the port of “Imari”.  These bright patterns were primarily developed for a Western market and were, in factBusiness Management Articles, based on the patterns of traditional kimono brocaded textiles.

The West’s love of Japanese art and design has never faulted and continues to evolve.