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A Personal Copy Book or Commonplace Book

Medieval Commonplace books were notebooks full of theory, information, poetry, and illustrations that people wanted to keep for future reference.

Bess' Commonplace book is made from white laid paper and bound on tapes which were then threaded through davey board.  The book has been covered in tan bookcloth.  All binding was done by Brother Conchobar mac Gabhann.

Inside the book you'll find assorted pen and ink drawings and some illumination by Bess.

 

In the above image, you can see that the pages lay generally flat when the book is opened.  If you look closely, you will see that the spine-edge of the book bows upwards, when the book is opened.  It is because of this that the pages lie flat.

This particular images shows the gap that is between the sections of the book, as the spine was not glued on the outside.  This causes a gap, in which you can see the three linen-tape supports, as well as the two "kettle" stitch stations at either end of the book-block. 

The supports are laced through the mass of the cover-boards, which is something that was commonly done across Europe through the 16th century.  This stitches on the spine are along the spine, from head to tail of the book-block, rather than across the block.  This method allows the supports to be sewn to the signatures, without actually stitching through the support.

Although the picture doesn't show it well, this images shows how the sewing thread was tied-off after the sewing is complete.  The thread comes through from the spine, into the fold of the signature

 

Want to learn more about Medieval Copybooks?  

The notes to Bess' Class "Creating a Personal Copybook" are now online!

Home Scribal Arts Structural Book Arts Articles & Notes

 

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