The Art of Book Design: The Dark Way of Love

Le Goffic, Charles,.Dark way of love. Westminster : Archibald constable, 1898

A change of pace for today with a Celtic design from the late 1800’s. The lettering has a handwritten feel to it and I think it’s simplicity works perfectly with the complex, serpentine knots.


via:, (which is a great site for anyone looking for a specific piece of written work. The site will tell you which libraries carry the book you’re looking for and how far away they are.)

The Art of Book Design: Robinson Crusoe

Daniel Dafoe. Robinson Crusoe. Embroidered front cover of a 1791 edition of Robinson Crusoe, from the Newberry Library — Source.

Daniel Dafoe. Robinson Crusoe. Embroidered back cover of a 1791 edition of Robinson Crusoe, from the Newberry Library — Source.

This book cover is one of a kind. It was fashionable for ladies of this time period to hand embroider covers for books and this gorgeous piece of needlework has survived beautifully and is kept in the Newberry Library in Chicago. The Public Domain Review featured an article about this art form (it’s at the link below) and I’ll be posting a few other examples down the road. I keep thinking that in 1791 when this book was published it was considered an item of luxury. It was so valuable that the person who designed and made this cover spent hour upon hour with needle and thread to embellish it. It’s exquisite.


Via: Public Domain Review

The Art of Book Design: Spectropia (1865)

Spectropia or Surprising Spectral Illusions Showing Ghosts Everywhere and of Any Colour. London, Griffith and Farran, 1865

This is the follow-up book to the Spectropia (1864) that I put up last Friday. This week I thought I’d share a bit of what’s between the covers including the directions. I’m afraid it’s all just a parlour trick meant to debunk the notion that ghosts exist. You can click for full size. [Read more…]

The Art of Book Design: Beauty in Common Things

Beauty in Common Things by Chambers, A. C; Whymper, Emily Hepburn, 1833-1886, illustrator; Dickes, William, 1815-1892 (printer); Stanford, Edward, 1827-1904 engraver; Society for Promoting Christian Knowledge (Great Britain). General Literature Committee. 1874. London

The gilded cover is an engraving of all the plants displayed in the book. I’ve added 2 of the interior plates below the fold for anyone interested. [Read more…]