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Individual Artists

Although most fore-edge painters, even twentieth-century ones, remain unknown and unnamed, it is sometimes possible to identify a specific artist by the style and content of the paintings themselves or by the date or location of the book in question.

Thistle Painter

Below are two books identified by Jeff Weber as being done by the “Thistle” painter, whom he considers to be one of the most highly skilled fore-edge artists of all time. This artist, who was working in the 1950s in New York City, frequently used thistles or other flowers in the borders around the fore-edge paintings.

Rokeby Fore-Edge Painting
Rokeby; a Poem. By Walter Scott, Esq. The Sixth Edition. Edinburgh: Printed by James Ballantyne and Co., for Longman, Hurst, Rees, Orme, and Brown, London; and Archibald Constable and Co., Edinburgh. 1815.

The painting includes a portrait of Oliver Cromwell as well as a view of Barnard Castle, each in oval frame, with a colored and floral background.

Poems of Mark Akenside Fore-Edge Painting
Mark Akenside. The Poems of Mark Akenside, M. D. 2 vols. Chiswick: from the Press of C. Whittingham, College House. [1822].

Both volumes of this work have fore-edge paintings, each with separate images within oval frames, surrounded by floral decoration.

Volume 1 shows a portrait of Akenside and a view of Hampstead, bordered by thistles and heather. Volume 2 shows the western quadrangle of old Christ’s Hospital, with a border of pimpernel and borage.

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Last Updated: 12 January 2009
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