|Elizabeth von Arnim, the author of The Solitary Summer, was a noted gardener, so this rendition of a flower scene is particularly apt.|
|This boat just bursts off the cover!|
By the early nineteenth century, publishing was separating from bookselling and binders began to get larger batches of work directly from publishers. Since the cost of binding fell to them, publishers sought an attractive binding style that was less costly than traditional hand binding in leather, but more permanent than paper wrappers or paper over boards. Bookbinders, struggling to keep up with the increased output of the printing trade and the demands of the publishers, sought a faster means of production.
The need for speed, simplicity, and economy in book production led to the introduction of cloth as a binding material and casing as a binding process. The dress fabrics silk and velvet had been used sporadically in binding but lacked durability and were expensive. In the early 1820s, the English publisher William Pickering introduced edition bindings in cloth. Pickering's binder, Archibald Leighton, worked to make cloth commercially viable by adding a fill, or sizing agent, that would both render the cloth impervious to adhesive and allow it to take dye evenly. In 1825 Leighton had ready a plain book cloth and, by 1828, a smooth, glazed cloth. To publishers, this new book cloth offered a binding material of some permanence at a cost only slightly higher than paper over boards. To binders, book cloth offered a material that was easier to work than leather, thereby helping them to speed production.
|This impressive ornamental cover was done by influential designer Margaret Armstrong for Houghton Mifflin in 1899. She was a pioneer in designing authors' works as distinctive sets.|
Morris published The Defence of Guenevere and Other Poems in 1858, at the age of 24. The decorative binding and illustrations for the 1904 edition were done by Scottish artist Jessie M. King, known for her Art Nouveau designs and contributions to the Arts and Crafts Movement.