The modern art binding is an example of purposeful design inspired by the reading of the book. The new tradition in British binding leads back to the text itself, creates a dialogue with the text, and extends the range of the images that accompany it. Its ultimate goal is a fusion of all facets of the book into a unified aesthetic whole. In recognizing and preserving major examples of modern art bindings, the Lilly Library demonstrates its commitment to both the spirit and the letter of the book.
The British bookbindings featured in this online exhibit were commissioned in 1972 from twenty-three leading artists and craftspeople in Great Britain to show the impressive range of artistry in British bookbinding. The range of techniques and aesthetic effects defy categorization, but the spectrum serves as a basis for the study of the best in contemporary fine binding. This online exhibit features the bindings of the seven artists listed below.
The Lilly Library's exhibit of British bookbindings was published in catalogue XXVII. British Bookbinding Today.
William Matthews Gemma O'Connor John Plummer
Angela James Arthur Johnson Edgar Mansfield Roger Powell
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