Fore-Edge Paintings in Univeristy of Iowa Special Collections

Fore-Edge Paintings in Univeristy of Iowa Special Collections

Recently brought to the attention of BAB were these amazing fore-edge paintings discovered in the University of Iowa’s special collections. The paintings are hidden at the very edge of each page, only visible when the leaves of the book are fanned out. The process of fore-edging which dates back to the 10th century involves painting on either one or more sides of the margin, which are then generally disguised by marbling or gilding so that the painting is not visible when the book is fully closed. It is also possible to include a third fore-edge painting in lieu of marbling or gilding so that the book reveals three illustrations using only the margin. The texts below are Spring, Summer, Autumn and Winter by Robert Mudie (1777-1842), donated to the University of Iowa special collections by Charlotte Smith.

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