The UCL Special Collection

Over the last couple of weeks we have spent a couple of afternoon’s with the exceedingly nice and knowledgeable Mr. Fred Bearman, who is the Preservation Librarian at the UCL Special Collection, and a Bookbinding Historian.

UCL LIBRARY

They have been wonderful afternoons, looking at some very early bindings dating back to the 15th century when printed books first came into existence, known as Incunabula, meaning ‘cradle’ or ‘swaddling’ in latin. Prior to this books were all manuscript and hand written, often by monks and clerical men.

There were also some other interesting ones, including a chemise binding – books with an extra cover on them which would wrap all around the book like a cloth, these popular prior to the development of  Protestantism and after the latter these books were often cut down as they represented extreme Catholicism in some areas and were frowned upon.

Two very interesting afternoons – and very educational!! My brain is struggling to keep all the information locked in!!

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