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The Collation

Following up on Sarah’s What’s that? post from last week, full marks to everyone who said “fore-edge painting” (also acceptable, though less to the point, “1631 x 401 pixel digital image” and “Wilton House“).

Here’s the same image, not cropped as tightly, so you can see the end papers and a glimpse of the fingers fanning out the leaves: 1

Fore-edge painting by ‘Edwards of Halifax’ of Wilton House, ca. 1812, on one volume of a 1797 edition of Shakespeare’s plays

And here is the fore-edge of the same book, closed:

The same volume closed, concealing the fore-edge painting

  1. All the photos in this post can be enlarged in a new window by clicking the image.


Dear Ms. Blake: I am very pleased to find this celebration of fore-edge paintings at the Folger. Thank you for citing my work. I would like to offer a couple of comments – some explanations – and I should add that it is wonderful to see these books pictured on the internet. Well done!

Cite: Weber’s book: L. Jeff Weber, The Fore-edge Paintings of John T. Beer, Los Angeles, 2005.

Beer’s last residence was in Rock Ferry, near Birkenhead.

“Merseyside book collector John T. Beer famously spent his retirement painting the fore-edges of books he owned, leaving a collection of over two hundred fore-edge paintings behind”

More correct: At present 190 fore-edge paintings by Beer are known. My book on Beer’s paintings catalogues 189 fore-edges, followed by (nos.) 190-212 which are painted bindings. Following that are 3 bindings designed by Beer and bound by Fazakerley.

The Tyndale you cite is Weber-Beer 171. It shows the book being sold at auction in 1903, purchased by Bull & Auvanche and purchased in 1904 by the Folger.

Barrett Wendell’s William Shakspere, a study in Elizabethan literature (London: J.M. Dent & Co., 1894) – this could be cited as Weber-Currie 87.

Jeff Weber — December 10, 2012

Thanks so much for the additional information and clarification!

Erin Blake — December 11, 2012

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