Rare Book Monthly

Articles - August - 2018 Issue

Do You Love Endpapers? An Interview with Simon Beattie, from the "We Love Endpapers" Facebook group.

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Simon Beattie and endpapers.

God forgive, I recently broke my own first commandment of book collecting: Thou shalt not buy a book but for its contents! Well, I did—worse, I bought a book for... its endpapers! It is not my entire fault, though. For the past few months, I have joined an apparently misleading group of weird worshippers. Their den? A Facebook group. They war cry? We Love Endpapers!

 

The book in question is entitled Exhortations Courtes et Pathétiques pour les personnes affligées ou mourantes... It was written by Abbot Martin, and published in Paris in 1712. This is a typical Catholic book, meant to add remorse to the pains suffered by dying people. If Jesus died on the cross for you, then why should you complain when you are sick and suffering? How ungrateful! Good Christians had to endure their tribulations with patience—it was God’s will, indeed. But it was more than that. In a time when medicine was unable to kill the pain, it was also a way to face life with dignity—for yourself but also for society at large. This is a serious book, in fact. The copy I bought has a top quality binding “à la Duseuil”, and... wonderful endpapers (see picture)! The background is a pale matte green, and it is decorated with embossed golden signs and silhouettes. When you open the cover, the light slowly runs on the golden parts that suddenly seem to come to life. Oh boy... I couldn’t wait to show my “golden calf” to the community of endpapers worshippers I had just joined: the We Love Endpapers group on Facebook.

 

Simon Beattie, who launched the group, told me more about these “embossed”, or “brocade”, endpapers: “Brocade paper first appears in southern Germany at the beginning of the 18th century,” he said, “and was soon being exported throughout Europe. The 'Dutch gilt paper' you see on English bindings is so called because it was imported from the Netherlands, but it was actually being produced in Germany.” I was impressed, and I decided to learn more about this aspect of old books. Interview of an “old paper scientist”.

 

- Simon, can you please introduce yourself?

 

My name is Simon Beattie, and I have been a bookseller for 20 years this summer. I worked in London for Bernard Quaritch and Simon Finch Rare Books before setting up on my own in January 2010. You can read more about my background, and the business at https://www.finebooksmagazine.com/fine_books_blog/2012/04/bright-young-things-simon-beattie.phtml

 

- When did you launch the We Love Endpapers group on Facebook?

Two years ago now, in May 2016. My only motive was that I know various people in the rare book world who say “those are nice endpapers”, or “look at these” at a book fair or wherever when they come across something particularly striking. The colours are so vivid. Think of those wonderful patterned papers inside the covers of an 18th-century book: exactly because they are inside the book, the colours are still as fresh as when they were made over 200 years ago. I thought a Facebook group would be a good forum for people to share pictures of attractive endpapers as and when they come across them. Initially, I intended it to be just for bookseller and librarian friends of mine. However, I then thought others might also be interested in it. Some people post more than others, of course, but I hope members of the group like what they see, and maybe even learn something, too, in the process. I certainly get a lot of nice comments from people at book fairs, thanking me for setting it up and saying that it's their favourite Facebook group, which is very heartening!

- What is the most accurate definition of "endpapers"?

Endpapers are the double leaves added at the front and back of a book by the binder; the outer leaf of each is pasted to the inner surface of the cover (hence 'pastedown'), the inner leaves (or 'free endpapers') form the first and last leaf of the volume when bound.

- When did the first endpapers appear in bookbinding?

Books from the Middle Ages to the Renaissance sometimes had only a pastedown, a narrow strip (or guard) covering the bands on the spine, and sometimes no endpapers at all.

- Was there a specific period of time when they developed?

 Endpapers had become pretty much standard practice by the 17th century, and this is also when decorative papers (e.g. marbled) first appear. Brocade papers, and block-printed papers, develop during the 18th century, although I think of them as Continental taste as far as endpapers are concerned.

 

- Do you know if some printers or binders printed their own endpapers? There were a lot of regulations regarding printing, binding, etc. Was it the case with endpapers?

- Binders would have made their own paste papers, using up paste left over from binding. Brocade and block-printed papers were made by specific manufacturers, such as those in Augsburg, or Orléans, and can be identified. I'm not sure of regulations regarding printed papers. I expect the French dominotiers had regulations, but probably completely different rules from printers of books.


- Most of them from the 18th century are red, blue and yellow. Any particular reason?

Do you think so? You see all kinds of colours.

- When did the first "luxury" endpapers appear?

All decorated papers are, in their way, echoing luxury materials: marble, brocade, chintz (cf. Kattunpapier, literally 'calico paper', the old German term for block-printed paper). Of course, many books of, say, the 17th and 18th centuries have plain endpapers. But when you see a decorated one, you know that the owner of the book has decided to spend a little more on the binding.

- Is there a difference between endpapers and wrappers?

The simple plain paper wrappers put on the book by the printer/publisher were usually removed when the book was bound. You do sometimes see decorated papers used as wrappers on books, e.g. the block-printed papiers dominotés on some 18th-century French books. Interestingly, such block-printed papers were popular in France as wrappers, but rarely used as endpapers, which was more of a German practice.  

- What can endpapers tell us about a book?

If the endpapers are made from a fancier paper, it tells you whoever had it bound spent more money on it than if s/he had had plain endpapers. And knowing what kind of paper was made where can help identify perhaps where a book was bound, or serve as witness to the export of decorative papers. Some designs in the 18th century, like those block-printed zigzags, I have only ever seen in Russian books, so I presume they were made in Russia, rather than elsewhere and imported.

 

- Do we have "signed" endpapers (just like bindings)?

 Only inadvertently, when you see the edge of, say, a French papier dominoté, or a German Brokatpapier, which gives the name of the manufacturer.

  

 

Thibault Ehrengardt  


Posted On: 2018-08-03 22:26
User Name: hermeticsurveyor

As an erstwhile artist I've always been captivated by the ep's I've encountered lo these 37 years as a bookdealer, but few dealers or collectors I've met cared much about anything but the rarest and most special. When I stumbled on Mr. Beattie's FB site I was thrilled to see the serious interest they deserve, it is one of the very few book sites I regularly visit. My problem with contributing some of mine there is I have no camera that does justice to them, and many ep's can't be scanned without cracking the hinge or causing binding stress, something I'm genetically incapable of doing.


Rare Book Monthly

  • <b>Chiswick Auctions: Summer Books. August 22, 2018</b>
    <b>Chiswick Auctions, Aug. 22:</b> Adams (Richard). <i>Watership Down,</i> FIRST EDITION, author inscription on front free end paper, folded map tipped in, original boards, dust-jacket. £800 to £1,200
    <b>Chiswick Auctions, Aug. 22:</b> Bowles (John). <i>Several Prospects of the Most…la Ville de Londres, avec des Remarques Historiques fort Succinctes, qui les Regardant,</i> 20 double page engraved plates only, of 23, 1724. £200 to £300
    <b>Chiswick Auctions, Aug. 22:</b> Auden (W.H.). <i>Our Hunting Fathers,</i> FIRST SEPARATE EDITION, 1 of 22 copies, COPY B OF 5 PRINTED ON NORMANDIE, original patterned wrappers, Cambridge, for Frederic Prokosch, 1935. £800 to £1200
    <b>Chiswick Auctions: Summer Books. August 22, 2018</b>
    <b>Chiswick Auctions, Aug. 22:</b> Barrie (J. M.) & Attwell (Mabel Lucie, illustrator). <i>Peter Pan & Wendy,</i> FIRST EDITION, 12 chromolithograph plates, publisher's blue cloth, original printed dust jacket, [c.1920]; and 3 others (4). £200 to £300
    <b>Chiswick Auctions, Aug. 22:</b> Bartolozzi (Francesco). Genius Calling Forth the Fine Arts to Adorn Manufactures and Commerce; Agriculture (Husbandry Aided by Arts and Commerce), glazed and framed. £200 to £300
    <b>Chiswick Auctions, Aug. 22:</b> A collection of engraved caricatures, including Gillray ([James]) Tales of Wonder!, 1802; Rowlandson (Thomas) Sports, Smock Racing, 1811;Irish Jaunting Carr, 1814. £400 to £600
    <b>Chiswick Auctions: Summer Books. August 22, 2018</b>
    <b>Chiswick Auctions, Aug. 22:</b> Bennett (Charles H, illustrator). <i>Æsop’s Fables,</i> 1875; Buchanan (Robert). <i>Ballad Stories of the Affections,</i> [1866]; Douce (Francis), The Dance of Death, 1833. £200 to £300
    <b>Chiswick Auctions, Aug. 22:</b> Chinese Illustrations. A group of 6 Cantonese rice paper illustrations, depicting scenes of torture with different instruments, gouache, c.340 x 220mm, original wrapper boards preserved, [c. 1800]. £200 to £300
    <b>Chiswick Auctions, Aug. 22:</b> Dulac (Edmund). <i>The Queen of Romania, The Dreamer of Dreams,</i> 5 coloured plates, [1915]; and others illustrated by Edmund Dulac. £300 to £400
    <b>Chiswick Auctions: Summer Books. August 22, 2018</b>
    <b>Chiswick Auctions, Aug. 22:</b> Fronth (Per). Xingu Chronicles, the portfolio, comprising 30 plates, photogravues in colours, each signed, dated and titled in pencil, each numbered 10/35, on wove paper, 790 x 600 x 60mm, 1997. £300 to £400
    <b>Chiswick Auctions, Aug. 22:</b> Pasternak (Boris). <i>Doctor Zhivago,</i> FIRST ENGLISH EDITION, original red publisher’s cloth, pictorial dust jacket, 4to, Collins & Harvill Press, 1958. £200 to £300
    <b>Chiswick Auctions, Aug. 22:</b> 13 sepia photographs of visitors to the Thermes Nationaux d’Aix-les-Bains, c. 150 x 105mm, c.1890 (12). £300 to £400
  • <b>Swann Auction Galleries:</b> Luis de Lucena, <i>Arte de Ajedres,</i> first edition of the earliest extant manual on modern chess, Salamanca, circa 1496-97. Sold for $68,750.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries:</b> Carte-de-visite album with 83 images of prominent African Americans & abolitionists, circa 1860s. Sold for $47,500.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries:</b> Gustav Klimt, <i>Das Werk,</i> Vienna & Leipzig, 1918. Sold for $106,250.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries:</b> Man Ray, <i>[London Transport] – Keeps London Going,</i> 1938. Sold for $149,000.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries:</b> Thomas Jefferson, Letter Signed, to Major-General Nathanael Greene, promising reinforcements against Cornwallis, 1781. Sold for $35,000.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries:</b> Nicolas de Fer, <i>L’Amerique Divisee Selon Letendue de ses Principales Parties,</i> Paris, 1713. Sold for $30,000.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries:</b> Russell H. Tandy, <i>The Secret in the Old Attic,</i> watercolor, pencil & ink, 1944. Sold for $35,000.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries:</b> Ernest Hemingway, <i>Three Stories & Ten Poems,</i> first edition of the author's first book, Paris, 1923. Sold for $23,750.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries:</b> Walker Evans, <i>River Rouge Plant,</i> silver print, 1947. Sold for $57,500.
  • <b>19th Century Shop:</b> Charles Darwin on sexuality and the transmission of hereditary characteristics: Autograph Letter Signed to Lawson Tait. Down, 17 January [1877].
    <b>19th Century Shop:</b> MILTON, JOHN. <i>Paradise Lost. A Poem written in ten books.</i> London: 1667. A very rare example with the contemporary binding untouched and with a 1667 title page.
    <b>19th Century Shop:</b> Hamilton secures the ratification of the Constitution: <i>The Debates and Proceedings of the Convention of the State of New-York, assembled at Poughkeespsie, on the 17th June, 1788.</i>
    <b>19th Century Shop:</b> The social contract “Man is born free, and everywhere he is in chains”: ROUSSEAU, JEAN-JACQUES. <i>Principes du Droit Politique [Du Contract Social]</i>. Amsterdam: Michel Rey, 1762
    <b>19th Century Shop:</b> “The first English textbook on geometrical land-measurement and surveying”: BENESE, RICHARD. <i>This Boke Sheweth the Maner of Measurynge All Maner of Lande…</i>
  • <b>Bonhams: September 25, New York</b>
    <b>Bonhams, June 12 results:</b> Ernst, Max. <i>Mr. Knife and Miss Fork</i>. Paris, 1932. DELUXE EDITION. Sold for $15,625
    <b>Bonhams, June 12 results:</b> Cage, John. Autograph musical leaf from his Concert for Piano and Orchestra, NY, 1958. Sold for $18,750
    <b>Bonhams, June 12 results:</b> Cage, John. Autograph musical leaf from his Concert for Piano and Orchestra, NY, 1958. Sold for $18,750
    <b>Bonhams: September 25, New York</b>
    <b>Bonhams, June 12 results:</b> Einstein, Albert. Signed Passport Photo for his US citizenship application. Bermuda, 1935. Sold for $17,500
    <b>Bonhams, June 12 results:</b> Verard, Antoine. Illuminated printed Book of Hours. Paris, 1507. Sold for $7,500
    <b>Bonhams, June 12 results:</b> Wetterkurzschlussel. German Weather Report Codebook - for Enigma use. Berlin, 1942. Sold for $225,000
    <b>Bonhams: September 25, New York</b>
    <b>Bonhams, June 12 results:</b> Morelos y Pavon, Jose Maria. Autograph letter signed to El Virrey Venegas, February 5, 1812. Sold for $6,250
    <b>Bonhams, June 12 results:</b> Milne, A.A. Complete set of <i>Winnie-the-Pooh</i> books. 4 volumes. All first issue points. London, 1924-1928. Sold for $5,250
    <b>Bonhams, June 12 results:</b> A 48-star American Flag, battle worn flown at Guadalcanal and Peleliu, 1942-1944. Sold for $35,000
    <b>Bonhams, June 12 results:</b> Locke, John. Autograph Letter Signed mourning the death of his friend, William Molyneaux, 2 pp, October 27, 1698. Sold for $20,000

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