Old Book

Look at this great banged-up old book! Just look at it!

Old book: front

At Balticon this year there was a presentation by Ada Palmer and Lauren Schiller (historians and librarians among other things) on old books! And old paper, and other old information technology.

They passed around books and papers which were 200 to 600 years old, including samples of papyrus, vellum, and various bindings. It was all nifty, but I was particularly taken by this battered volume.

Old book: title page

As you see, this was actually one of the newer volumes. It was printed in 1822. But it had medieval-style wooden covers lined with leather, and what Ada described as "absurdly pretentious blackletter printing". So the printer was going for an air of antiquity.

Then the thing got, I don't know, soaked and maybe scorched and definitely worm-eaten. And there's a big hole in the back cover. So it really looks old.

(The paper is in decent condition, really. Acidic wood-pulp paper wasn't invented until 1843.) (Yes, those are brass nails in the cover. I think they were originally part of a pair of clasps to hold the book shut. If someone has a reference for the construction pattern, let me know.)

As it happens, I know some fans who have a use for antique-looking books in game art. So I figured I'd take high-res photos of this one and post them here. Public domain, do what you want.

Old book: back

Old book: spine Old book: antispine

Old book: top Old book: bottom

One more picture: tasty book cakes from a book release party. (Also at Balticon. Right-hand book is also by Ada Palmer. Recommended! I haven't read the Jo Walton yet, but I enjoyed the first two in its series.)

Cake books

-- June 1, 2016

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