Bookbinding and the Conservation of Books
A Dictionary of Descriptive Terminology

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A method of decorating a leather binding by means of thin, variously colored pieces of leather, usually of a different color than the covering leather, which are attached by means of paste or P.V.A. to the surface of the covering leather, thus giving it a kind of mosaic effect. The pieces of leather are usually, but not necessarily, of the same type of leather as that covering the book. The onlay was certainly in use in England by the 17th century and was also a technique occasionally adapted to publisher's cloth bindings between 1840 and 1860, with onlays sometimes made of paper. Cf: INLAY (4) , for which the onlay is often mistaken. (69 , 236 , 335 )

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