The text block was made up with pale blue endpapers at the start of the binding process. These had been laminated to a neutral-coloured sheet on the side closest to the text block. Given the extent of the work that went into the cover design it was important to get the right balance for the doublures and endpapers, wanting them to compliment and not overpower what was happening on the front and back boards.
My initial ideas for the doublures and endpapers was to carry on the feel of the flowing vines from the cover. Printed throughout the text in the book were some lovely little leaves which gave me an idea. I had some really pretty etched brass leaves in my stock of supplies that seemed to fit really well so thought about how I could use these to adorn the doublures.
I snipped the leaves carefully off the large strip into separate stems so I could experiment with attaching them to paper.
I did this by first gluing the small leaves to the paper using “4001 Lascaux Acrylic Adhesive 303 HV, Archival Glue”. This is a great glue for sticking absorbent to non-absorbent surfaces, such as metal to paper. I knew about this glue following time time working at the Victoria and Albert Museum as it is archival and had many uses for all sorts of different jobs.
Once glued in place I then tacked the leaves down with a metallic gold thread to ensure they would not come off. The patches of leaves were then joined together using a curved line of embroidery and a flower was sewn to the paper too. Below was the test piece I made to go on the back of the sample board, so only measures about 120mm x 75mm which gives you an idea of how small the metal leaves were.
The paper colour was initially chosen because it matched well to the original book covers, however towards the end of the binding process it was decided that this wasn’t bold enough against the dark colour of the covering leather.
Therefore, for both the endpapers and the doublures, a darker colour was chosen being an 80gsm machine made Japanese paper in dark blue called “Satogami”. I was really drawn to the mottled look of how the paper had been made and it was lovely to work with. The Shepherds website describes this paper as, “Ideal for any arts & craft project. Suitable for writing, printing, binding and folding. Excellent lightweight multi-purpose paper. 10% bamboo, 90% wood pulp.”
Once the new paper had been chosen the design of the doublures and endpapers was revisited as upon reflection the etched metal leaves just felt they were going to be too small against the size of the book. I therefore decided to use the same shaped leaves as that of the rose on the cover design of the book to tie them together.
The leaves were cut out of gold-foiled paper and stuck to the Satogami using PVA glue. The curved vine that the leaves extended from was shaped in the same form as one of the intersecting lines on the cover design and placed so that the ends of the lines at the top and bottom of the doublures matched those on the front and back covers.
The line was initially sewn using the sewing machine and then whipped with a gold metallic thread. Detail was hand-sewn on each leaf to create the veins of the leaves.
I also felt that due to the fact the design was made around the names of the ten protagonists I wanted their names to feature on the book in some way. I thought that rather than sewing random flowers onto the doublures, like illustrated on the sample board, that I could make a feature of the ladies names instead.
Using the colours of the onlays I had made each of the flowers and butterflies from I punched out enough 7mm diameter circles to tool the names of each on to. I did two lots for every name as I wanted to extend the idea and put the names in the box too.
The letters were tooled using carbon onto the circles. I worked out which names were going on the front and which on the back by gauging how long each of them were and trying to balance them out.
The discs were then glued down along the curved line using PVA glue.
The insides of the boards were infilled within the leather turn-ins, firstly with a layer of watercolour paper (the same thickness as I had pared the turn-ins), and then with two layers of Zerkall paper. After each layer of paper went on they were sanded flush to remove any lumps and bumps. It was so important that the surface beneath the paper doublure was absolutely flat as any discrepancies would have shown up massively under the final doublure layer.
I painted the outer edges of the book boards with acrylic paint just to ensure there would be no halo of white from the sanding process visible on any of the edges once the final decorated doublure layer went down.
The doublure was then pasted out with PVA glue using a roller and then quickly laid down in place. There was no margin of error here, they had to be laid down exactly correctly which was a nervous procedure. I then also tipped on a layer of the same colour paper at the hinge joint on top of the original paler blue paper to tie the whole thing together.
Getting the doublures down was the very end challenge to complete the book. There was however still the wooden box to think about! I wanted to make an oak box to house the book in as I thought that tied in very well given the original Doves Bindery bindings, done in 1897, had oak boards covered with Pigskin.
I bought some oak and was recommended a carpenter, Marcus Hopgood, to machine the wood and construct the box for me. He worked from a drawing I provided him with. Firstly the oak panels I had bought had their edges planed flat.
The panels were then cut to width on a bandsaw.
The panels I was supplied with were not wide enough to span the width I needed for the lid and base of the box so two pieces were “book matched” together – rather an appropriate term for what the box was going to contain!
Bookmatching is the practice of matching two (or more) wood or stone surfaces, so that two adjoining surfaces mirror each other, giving the impression of an opened book. As applied to wood, bookmatching is usually done with veneer (produced in one of several ways), but can also be done with solid wood.
The side panels were machined with a bevel in order for the lid and base to drop in and be fixed in place.
The box was hinged using three brass hinges along the length, and brass clasps were fitted to the outer edge.
The box was then waxed on all of the outer edges and passed back to me for the next stage of the process.
I wanted to put the title of the book prominently on the front of the box. I had some strips of leather left over from the book cover so backed it with some Japanese paper to stabilise it. I then used a paper template to prick holes through around the outlines of the title letters so that the marks were visible on the back of the leather.
The letters were then cut out using a scalpel. I was really careful with this stage as I wanted to use the leather letters I was cutting out in their own right, in order to create another label for an outer conservation box I had ordered to house the oak box in.
I blind tooled around the letters to tie it together with the cover design and also added three gold leaves, like on the endpapers, along the length. I also painted the cut edges with acrylic paint the same colour as the leather to consolidate them.
The final procedure was to line the box. I did this using a heavyweight paper and a thin strip of leather was also glued around the lid and base joints (as seen below, the darker strip around the inner edge). I was also then able to stick down the second lot of tooled names within the box.
I had designed the box so that there was space all around the book within the box in order to add spacers. The lid and the base of the box had pads made up from a cushioned layer of board that had then been covered in felt. On the base, a ribbon lifter was attached to the base of the pad before the pad was stuck into the box.
Finally, side spacers were machined from oak and also covered in felt and glued to the sides of the base. This was to stop the book from having any lateral movement within the box.
This really was the last stage of the process. Due to the time constraints on getting the box finished and then posted over to the USA in time for my deadline gave me just one day for photography. The next, and final, blog post shows the finished book and box ready for photography!