Fore-edge books

Had you heard of fore-edge paintings? I hadn’t. From Karen at

During Merrilee’s and my visit to the Boston Public Library last Friday, Tom Blake and Maura Marx introduced us to the results of the BPL’s digitization of its fore-edge books—books with paintings on their edges that can be viewed only by looking at the sides of the book. Some are “double fore-edge” books – one painting is visible when the leaves are fanned one way, and another painting appears when fanned another way.

The BPL has posted a CC-licensed Flickr set of fore-edge paintings with detailed captions. Love!

Thanks, Dylan!

Photo: [View of London Bridge.] posted by the Boston Public Library; some rights reserved.

4 thoughts on “Fore-edge books

  1. Gotta love the fore-edge. There’s a fantastic Robinson Crusoe around the traps, with one picture when you bend the textblock one way, and another the other way. One day I’m going to do one. It’s one of the things on my list to do before I die :)

  2. This is an extraordinary real-world occurrence of something I used to do, almost pathologically, with decks of computer punch-cards while waiting to run them at the college computer center. Except my ball-point pen technique was far more crude and of necessarily simplistic content.

    I prefer the depiction of a 19th-century London street to my slipshod Starship Enterprise opposing crude block-letter initials.

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