The Roots of Board Slotting?

December 11, 2008

I was rereading Clarkson’s article on Romanesque bookbinding, and he notes that “The earliest recorded English bindings where the bands do not enter the boards through tunnels, but are drawn around to the outer face of the boards, is dated to 1230-40…. ” (Clarkson 1993, 190)  Band slips that enter through a tunnel in the edge of the board are mechanically stronger than a lacing pattern that relies on adhesive and covering material to remain in place.  Indeed, I have noticed many conservation problems with later wood board structures where the slips lie on the outer face of the board. 

I wonder if his observations of Romanesque board attachment, not mentioned in the 1992 board slotting article, contributed to the invention of board slotting.  The idea of entering into the edge of a board, although at different angles, is somewhat similar. If so, it is yet another reminder of how careful observation and analysis of specific structural features can have much broader implications.

Jeff

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Clarkson, Christopher.  “Board Slotting- A New Technique for Re-attaching Bookboards,” Conference Papers Manchester 1992, London: The Institute of Paper Conservation, 1992.  Pp. 158-164.

Clarkson, Christopher. “English Monastic Bookbinding in the Twelfth Century,” in Ancient and Medieval Book Materials and Techniques, ed.  Marilena Maniaci and Paola F. Munafo. Citta del Vaticano: Biblioteca Apostolica Vaticana, 1993. Pp. 181-200.

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