Monday, February 11, 2019

New Looks For Old Books by Karla Stover

Image result for crafts with old books                   Upcycled Book Crafts for Organizing and Decorating Your Home               Image result for crafts with old books

                                                              New Looks For Old Books                                                         


Late at night, when my husband and I don’t want to go to bed, we watch YouTube TV. That’s where I learned that old books could be hazardous to your health. The problems stem from dust, mold, bacteria, by-products of mold and bacteria, applied chemicals, and any by-products. Nevertheless, while clearing my parents’ estate, I swapped all my Anne of Green Gables books with Anne looking like a hippie on the cover for my mom’s old ones.

During my Downton Abbey days, I bought some books by English lady’s maids, cooks, housekeepers, etc. off Alibris because it’s hard to find old British memoirs in the States. How people lived and worked is endlessly fascinating to me. There are no warning labels about dust mites and mildew on these books.

But getting back to old books, when my chores are done and that includes time on my next book, I am addicted to Netflix’s Design Challenge where, occasionally, someone does something fun with a stack of books. (see above) However, my favorite is an old technique called Disappearing Fore Edge.
Here's the story as told by Wikipedia:
First: Disappearing Fore Edge is the art of painting something on the edge of book pages that can only be seen when they're fanned. "Supposedly, Charles II of England had a lady friend, a duchess, ( I'm guessing Barbara Castlemaine, first Duchess of Cleveland ) who often borrowed his books, sometimes forgetting to return them. So, the king commissioned the court painter, Sir Peter Lely, and the court bookbinder, Samuel Mearne, to devise a secret method by which his books could be identified. Between the two, they worked out the clever technique. Some weeks later, when the king was visiting the duchess, he spotted a familiar looking book on a shelf. Taking it down he said, “I’ll just take my book along with me.” “But sire,” the lady protested, “that book is mine.” “Oh?" The king raised his brows. Then, with a sly smile, he fanned out the pages and revealed what had been painted on them--the royal coat of arms. The gilding on the outer edges had completely hidden the identification. Acknowledging that Charles had outwitted her, the duchess sank in a deep curtsy before her king.
"The majority of extant examples of fore-edge painting date to the late 19th and early 20th centuries." Probably, now, it's a lost or barely-surviving art but I wrote a short story where Disappearing Fore Edge helped the sleuth solved the crime.  It's somewhere on a thumb drive.