52 Weeks of Fantastic Bindings, Week 28: A 16th century classic beautifully rebound in the 19th century

The front cover of the library's copy of Boneto Locatelli’s early 16th century printing of Aristotle (TypIV.B20LA), bound in 19th century crimson sheepskin.

This week’s fantastic binding is hard to miss when your sifting through the stacks of 16th century Italian books. Most of our books in the Italian portion of the Typographical Collection are either contemporarily bound (usually in calf, vellum or sheep) or were modestly rebound in the 19th or 20th century. Our copy of Boneto Locatelli’s early 16th century printing of Aristotle, however, has been rebound in sheepskin stained a vibrant crimson colour.

Detail of the spine of TypIV.B20LA.

This book has been decorated all over in blind roll stamps and blind fillets, even the spine’s raised bands have been tooled! It has been recorded that this book was rebound in the 1860’s by “Fletcher” but there is no further specification as to which person or firm this Fletcher is. It could refer to Melville Fletcher (fl. 1832-1852, St Andrews) or one of the many Fletchers of Edinburgh in the 19th century. We do know, from inscriptions on the title page, that this book was in Scotland from an early time: the book was given to the Edinburgh Blackfriars (Dominicans) by John Adamson (d. 1523), and then came into the ownership of Gavin Borthwick, a student at St Leonard’s College in 1578, who probably came across it after the dissolution of the Edinburgh monastery.

Title page of TypIV.B20LA, featuring the ownership inscription of Gavin Borthwick, a student at St Leonard's in 1578.

DG

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