Wednesday, March 20, 2013

Adventures in French Bookland

At an estate sale, I came across a box of linen-covered books.

On closer examination, I found they were all French. Such a lovely collection!

Among the authors were Hugo, Balzac, Montaigne, Montesquieu.

All are covered in exquisite, French book linen.

In contrast to the linen luxuriousness are the quaint and simplistic titles typewritten on deep-hued,  elegant paper and glued to the spine.

Several of the books contain page signatures that have not been cut, making it impossible to turn the pages.

The linen is ideal for incorporating into decorating. A rich oatmeal color with an inviting texture you don't find on most book covers. I've used books as decorating elements for decades and am excited to have a new and very different type of collection to incorporate in my vignettes.

In all the years Hubby and I have collected old books, we'd never come across any quite like these. My curiosity about the handmade labels, the uncut signatures and the title pages pasted into some of them got the best of me. So, I took them to a local dealer who specializes in rare and antique books to see what I could learn about them.

The books are handmade--a technique that wasn't real common, but not totally unusual, either.  The dealer didn't know why many of the signatures were left uncut. If he were to offer them for sale in his shop, he'd ask $10-$15 each. I paid $2.50 each.

I appreciate that, being handmade, each book is one of a kind.  The collection is a wonderful and versatile addition to my eclectic decorating repertoire.

Make it a great day!


  1. What an incredible find! I would kill for these, seriously. I've always loved decorating with books. These are perfect!

  2. the texture on those covers is beautiful. great find!

  3. Those are a real treasure! I love the texture and color.
    The vignettes look amazing.

  4. I think you've found something quite lovely. Books and linen together - you can't go wrong!

  5. Oh Ann, this collection is wonderful! I love linen and how wonderful to find books covered in it. The title colors are so pretty too! What a great collection! Thanks for sharing them with Share Your Cup.

  6. Loved the books, but also what caught my eye was the picture of General Palmer on his horse with Pike's Peak in the background. Is it a postcard from Colorado Springs? Sally


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