Bookbinding and the Conservation of Books
A Dictionary of Descriptive Terminology

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sprinkled edges

The head, or all three edges, of a book which have been cut solid and sprinkled, usually with an earth pigment, such as bole, dissolved in a non-spirit solvent. Sprinkled edges are intended to be decorative and to prevent the edges from appearing to be soiled. The technique has been used since the 16th century, generally on trade and edition bindings, ordinary library bindings, and also on dictionaries and similar publications. Venetian red has always been the color most often used, possibly because it does not clash with other colors, such as endpapers or the leather covering. A good deal of the early sprinkling is very fine and even, so much so that at first glance it appears to be a solid color. (343 )

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