Bookbinding and the Conservation of Books
A Dictionary of Descriptive Terminology

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Romanesque bindings

A group of bookbindings dating from the 12th and early 13th centuries. These bindings, of which more than a hundred examples are recorded, are always in leather, usually of a dark brown color. Their decorative patterns were not incised with a knife or graver, as was common in that time, but were produced by means of repeated impressions made with engraved metal stamps. The finest examples are of French or English origin, but the style was also prevalent in Germany, although not in Italy or Spain. Romanesque bindings are the earliest of the blocked bindings and represent a fully developed art of book decoration by means of deeply engraved metal dies, which left excellent impressions in relief in the leather. These 12th century stamps are well engraved, and seem to have no known antecedents. There is evidence indicating that they were produced by the members of a small group of monasteries, and within a relatively short period of time. Most of the extant examples are bindings of individual books of the Bible, each usually having a different design on the upper cover. (69 , 167 )

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