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Bindings Conference

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Bindings Conference

August 15-16, 2013

New Bownde: New Scholarship in Early Modern Binding


This two-day conference is hosted by the Folger Shakespeare Library and explores new tools for the study of English and Continental bookbinding and shares new scholarship in the materiality of the book. New Bownde: New Scholarship in Early Modern Binding marks the culmination of a two year project to build an online database of binding images from the Folger collection. To date, the database contains more than 4,000 images of primarily early modern bindings, originating from England, Italy, France, Germany, and the Low Countries.

In recent years a number of major resources of this kind have been developed, including binding databases at the British Library, the Bibliothèque nationale de France, University of the Arts London, Universities of Toronto and Uppsala and others, and, now, at the Folger Shakespeare Library. Over two days historians, librarians, and conservators explore how these tools are being used and how they are transforming our understanding of early modern book history. Sessions include new scholarship in the field, as well as discussions of the interoperability of existing resources and their combined power to support new research.


Scholars from seven different countries will present their research and four international bookbinding experts will conduct workshops in which different bookbinding databases will be discussed.


The final program is available as a pdf.


The conference is preceded by an extra workshop on Wednesday 14 August. Dr. Lieve Watteeuw (Illuminare, Centre for the Study of Medieval Arts, KU Leuven, Belgium) and Dr. Hendrik Hameeuw (Ancient Near Eastern Studies, KU Leuven, Belgium) will demonstrate the Mini-dome, an innovative digital imaging tool which uses omnimulti-directional lighting to create 'digital rubbings' of bookbindings. For more information about the Mini-dome, see the the pdf document in the menu on the right hand side, or visit the project's  blog.


The pre-conference workshop is full (3 August 2013).


Practical information



For information and questions please contact Dr Goran Proot: gproot@folger.edu, or call 202-675 0356 (office hours).



All activities take place at the Folger Shakespeare Library, Washington, DC; the conference dinner will be held close to the Folger.

Directions to the Folger.



Pre-conference workshop: Wednesday, 14 August 2013

Conference: Thursday 15 and Friday 16 August 2013



  • Pre-conference workshop: free of charge (full).
  • Conference: $100; for students: $50 (please present a valid student card). This includes coffee and tea during the breaks, and the Conference Reception on Thursday evening. This does not include lunches or the Conference Dinner.
  • Conference Dinner: $75.

Please register before August 1st 2013 using the links on the right hand side.



Conference attendees may consider to stay at the Phoenix Park Hotel which offers special rates for this event: $139 (1 bed) and $159 (2 full size beds) per night for the period August 14-16, 2013 . Please make your reservation before July 12th 2013.

  • You can use the online reservation weblink to book reservations directly online: Phoenix Park Hotel
  • You may also call 202-638-6900 or 800-824-5419 after work hours and on weekends. Please identify yourself with 'Folger Conference' or Group Code 17841 to avail the special rate over the August 14-16, 2013 dates.

Individual cancellation policy is 72 prior to date of arrival to avoid one night room plus tax charge on credit card provided.



Here is a link to a selection of nearby Lunch venues.


Accepted papers


Timoty Leonardi, Curator of Manuscripts and Rare Books, Capitulary Library of Vercelli, Italy

Early bookbindings on incunabula in the Newberry Library: A working census


Emmanuelle Maïsetti, CESR Tours, France

Binding structures from the late 15th and 16th century: Results, needs and difficulties


Aaron T. Pratt, Yale University

Stab-stitching and the status of playbooks as literature


Erik Geleijns, National Library of the Netherlands, Netherlands

'Neatly bound in yellow boards' – Dutch printed bindings from the eighteenth century


Andrew Honey, Bodleian Library, Oxford, UK

The Vellum Trade: the binding of Jane Austen’s fiction manuscripts


Nicholas Pickwoad, Ligatus Research Centre, University of the Arts, London

Exploring the workings of the booktrade through the study of binding structures


Robert J. Milevski, Independent Researcher, Princeton, New Jersey

A short introduction to signed bindings


Jim Kuhn & Frank Mowery, Folger Shakespeare Library, Washington, DC, USA

Demonstration of the Folger Luna Digital Image Database


Frank Mowery, Folger Shakespeare Library, Washington, DC

The Folger Shakespeare Library Gwynn bindings


Ellen Storms, Keeper of Historical Collections, Antwerp University, Belgium

A new perspective on prize binding research


Isabelle Blivet, independant Book Conservator, France

Tools for the old binding’s codicological description and their preservation conditions


Lieve Watteeuw, KU Leuven, Illuminare, Centre for the Study of Medieval Arts, Belgium

Digital Rubbings: Imaging the topography of bookbinding stamps with the Minidome (RICH)


Matthew Day, Newman University, Birmingham, UK

Binding agents? – The role of binders in the suppression of texts in Early Modern England


L. Elizabeth Upper, Cambridge University Library Research Fellow, Cambridge, UK

Palimpsests of functions. The reuse of frisket sheets for colour printmaking in bindings


The workshops will be conducted by


- Mme Fabienne le Bars (Bibliothèque nationale de France, France)

- Professor Chris Coppens (KU Leuven, Belgium)

- Dr. Per Cullhed (Uppsala University Library, Sweden)

- Philip Oldfield (Librarian, Thomas Fisher Rare Book Library, University of Toronto, Canada).




To launch high-resolution, zoomable versions of the images above in the Folger Bindings Image Collection, follow these links:

'This Booke was new bownde Anno Dominj 1672...'

James Boaden. An Inquiry into...Various Pictures and Prints of Shakespeare. London, 1824. Cosway binding from 1928

Learn More

Bindings Conference Program

About the Mini-Dome


Pre-Conference Workshop

Conference Registration

Conference Registration for Students (reduced fee)

Conference Dinner

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