Artists' Books and Bindings

Book of Hours (Use of Rome), Girdle Book
Book of Hours, ca. 1450 (binding 16th century).

Artists' Books and Bindings represent the bibliophile end of library collecting, and the Newberry is particularly rich in both historic bindings and modern book objects that continue the tradition of creating the book beautiful.


Books of Hours are prayer books to be read privately, at prescribed times of the day. This volume is an example of a portable medieval book, designed to hang from a girdle or belt and consulted even while walking. [Essay 54]

Book of Hours (Use of Rome)
Book: Bruges, c. 1450
Binding: sixteenth century
Wing Fund, 1924
VAULT folio Case MS 38

<em>Iōannou tou Grammatikou eiz ta ysera analytika Aristotelous, hupomnēma = Ioannis Grammatici in Posteriora resolutoria Aristotelis comentaria</em>
John Philoponus, Iōannou tou Grammatikou ..., 1504.

This edition of a commentary on Aristotle by a sixth-century grammarian, is an example of a luxurious cameo binding. It was commissioned by Jean Grolier, the greatest book collector and bibliophile in Renaissance France. [Essay 58]

John Philoponus
Iōannou tou Grammatikou eiz ta ysera analytika Aristotelous, hupomnēma = Ioannis Grammatici in Posteriora resolutoria Aristotelis comentaria
[Commentary on Aristotle’s Posterior Analytics]
Book: Venice: Aldus Manutius, 1504
Binding: Milan, 1510/1516
Louis H. Silver Collection purchase, 1964
Case 6A 132

Pressburger Finger-kalenderl auf das Jahr 1799
Pressburger Finger-kalenderl auf das Jahr 1799, 1798.

In addition to a calendar, this book contains the weekly mail-coach schedules through Pressburg (Bratislava) from Vienna, and a small mirror. It is an example of a miniature book, of which the Newberry has a good collection. [Essay 63]

Pressburger Finger-kalenderl auf das Jahr 1799 [Pressburger finger calendar for the year 1799]
Bratislava: Franz Patzko, 1798
Wing Fund, 1990
Wing min. ZP 958 .P28

<em>Paradise Lost</em> and <em>Paradise Regained</em>
John Milton, Paradise Lost and Paradise Regained, 1758 (binding early 20th century). Essay 67.

The workshop of Sangorski and Sutcliffe was well known for extravagant jeweled bindings like these. The designer / binder seems to have given considerable thought to the choice of materials—snakeskin for Paradise Lost and mother-of-pearl for Paradise Regained. [Essay 67]

John Milton (author), Sangorski & Sutcliffe (binder)
Paradise Lost
; Paradise Regained
Book: Birmingham: John Baskerville for J. and R. Tonson, 1758–1760
Binding: London, 1910/1930
Gift of Helen Swift Neilson, 1945
VAULT Case folio Y 185 .M6376a v. 1 ; VAULT Case folio Y 185 .M6376a v. 2

<em>Váchalova ročenka na rok 1927: přátelům a známým</em>
Josef Váchal, Váchalova ročenka na rok 1927: ..., 1926.

Josef Váchal was a visionary Czech author, painter, designer, and printer. This artist’s book includes a wide range of his woodcuts. [Essay 72]

Josef Váchal
Váchalova ročenka na rok 1927
[Váchal’s specimen book for 1927]
Ve Vršovicích, Czechoslovakia, 1926
Wing Fund, 1997
VAULT Wing folio ZP 058 .V336

<em>Quadragesimale Aureum</em>
Utino de Leonardus, Quadragesimale Aureum, 1471 (binding 1950).

This collection of Latin sermons is one of forty early printed books rebound in 1950 and 1951 by Hungarian-American book artist Elizabeth Kner. [Essay 56]

Leonardo de Utino (author), Elizabeth Kner (binder)
Quadragesimale aureum
[A golden treasury of Lenten sermons]
Book: Venice: Franciscus Renner, 1471
Binding: Chicago, 1950/1951
Wing Fund, 1930
Folio Inc. 4153

<em>The Tragedie of Hamlet Prince of Denmarke</em>
William Shakespeare, The Tragedie of Hamlet ..., 1930 (binding 1963).

This binding was created in 1963 by British artist Roger Powell for one of the most beautiful editions of Shakespeare ever made. [Essay 74]

William Shakespeare (author), Roger Powell (binder)
The Tragedie of Hamlet Prince of Denmarke

Weimar: Cranach Press, 1930
Pocahontas Press Fund, 1970
Wing folio ZP 947 .C8502

<em>Skute Awabo</em>
Ken Campbell, Skute Awabo, 1992.

This artist’s book by the English printer Ken Campbell is an essay in abstract forms. It is also a meditation on a short story by travel writer Harry Macfie set in the lands of the Ojibwe Indians of Manitoba. [Essay 75]

Ken Campbell
Skute Awabo
[Fire water]
London: K. Campbell, 1992
Bequest of Suzette Morton Davidson, 1996
VAULT Wing oversize ZP 945 .C1795

<em>Fondling the Dream: Mistakes, Misprints, and Other Debris from the Posters of Jay Ryan</em>
Jay Ryan, Fondling the Dream: ..., 2005.

Poster artists in Chicago have made the city’s indie-rock scene an amazingly fertile art movement. This volume assembles proofs, spoiled sheets, and overruns from posters—it is what the artist calls a “mistakes book.” [Essay 76]

Jay Ryan
Fondling the Dream. Mistakes, Misprints, and Other Debris from the Posters of Jay Ryan

Chicago: The Bird Machine, 2005
Gift of Diana Sudyka and Jay Ryan, 2005

Wing folio ZPP 2083 .R82