Sep 10, 2013

40 Hidden Artworks Painted on the Edges of Books

 

A fore-edge painting is a technique of painting on the edges of the pages of a book. The artwork can only be seen when the pages are fanned, as seen in the animation below. When the book is closed, you don’t see the image because it is hidden by the gilding (i.e., the gold leaf applied to the edges of the page).

fore-edge painting fanning animated gif

According to Encyclopedia Britannica, fore-edge paintings first arose during the European Middle Ages but came to prominence during the mid-17th century to the late 19th century. Anne C. Bromer for the Boston Public Library writes, “Most fore-edge painters working for binding firms did not sign their work, which explains why it is difficult to pinpoint and date the hidden paintings.”

Thanks to the generous gifts from Anne and David Bromer and Albert H. Wiggin, the Boston Public Library holds one of the finest collections of fore-edge paintings in the United States. Most of the collection has been put online for the world to enjoy and features more than 200 high-resolution images; complete with additional videos, articles and information.

The University of Iowa and Colossal recently featured a few fore-edge paintings with animated gifs that can also be seen below.

 

For more visit foreedge.bpl.org

 

 

1. The causes, appearances, and effects of the
seasonal decay and decomposition of nature, 1837 by Robert Mudie

fore-edge paintings gif

fore-edge paintings gif

 

 

2. The Holy Bible
Split fore-edge painting

fore edge painting

 

 

3. Letters of Lady Rachel Russell, 1801
by J. Mawman

harewood house fore edge book painting 40 Hidden Artworks Painted on the Edges of Books

 

 

4. Analysis of the Game of Chess, 1790
by François-André Danican Philidor

a game of chess fore edge book painting 40 Hidden Artworks Painted on the Edges of Books

 

 

5. Characteristics of women, moral, political, and historical, v.2 1833
by Anna Jameson
Painting of Anne Hathaway’s Cottage

anne hathaway cottage fore edge book painting 40 Hidden Artworks Painted on the Edges of Books

 

 

6. Speeches of Henry Lord Brougham, v.1 1838
by Henry Lord Brougham
A view of Philadelphia showing the Delaware

philadelphia fore edge book painting 40 Hidden Artworks Painted on the Edges of Books

 

 

7. Jeanne d’Arc
Author Unknown
The People Of Orleans Greet Joan Of Arc

joan of arc fore edge book painting 40 Hidden Artworks Painted on the Edges of Books

 

 

8. The rod and the gun, 1841
by James Wilson

hunting fore edge book painting 40 Hidden Artworks Painted on the Edges of Books

 

 

9. Poems by the late William Cowper, Esq., v.2 1820
by William Cowper

cries of london fore edge book painting 40 Hidden Artworks Painted on the Edges of Books

 

 

10. The speeches of the right honorable William Pitt, v.2 1808
by William Pitt
George Washington and Benjamin Franklin

washington franklin fore edge book painting 40 Hidden Artworks Painted on the Edges of Books

 

 

11. The causes, appearances, and effects of the
seasonal decay and decomposition of nature
, 1837 by Robert Mudie

hidden artworks on edges of books

hidden artworks on edges of books

 

 

12. The poetical works of Thomas Moore, 1865
by Thomas Moore
View Of Enniscorthy, England

view of enniscorthy fore edge book painting 40 Hidden Artworks Painted on the Edges of Books

 

 

13. The lord of the isles, 1815
by Walter Scott
Carrick Castle In Argyll, Scotland

carrick castle fore edge book painting 40 Hidden Artworks Painted on the Edges of Books

 

 

14. The world before the flood, 1819
by James Montgomery

cave dwellers fore edge book painting 40 Hidden Artworks Painted on the Edges of Books

 

 

15. The rambler, v.1 1825
by Samuel Johnson
Old Wych Street, London

view of carriages fore edge book painting 40 Hidden Artworks Painted on the Edges of Books

 

 

16. The complete angler of Isaak Walton and Charles Cotton, 1835
by Izaak Walton

walton portrait fore edge book painting 40 Hidden Artworks Painted on the Edges of Books

 

 

17. The Education of Henry Adams, 1918
by Henry Adams

woman and house fore edge book painting 40 Hidden Artworks Painted on the Edges of Books

 

 

18. Jerusalem delivered (Torquato Tasso), v.1 1797
by John Hoole

Arch_of_Traianus,_Ancona_-_Tasso_in_Prison;_-_the_Bridge_of_Sighs

 

 

19. Oberon, 1798
by William Sotheby

oberon fore edge book painting 40 Hidden Artworks Painted on the Edges of Books

 

 

20. The Holy Bible, 1811
St Paul’s Cathedral

st pauls cathedral fore edge book painting 40 Hidden Artworks Painted on the Edges of Books

 

 

21. The lay of the last minstrel, 1823
by Sir Walter Bart Scott
View of Kelso, Scotland

kelso scotland fore edge book painting 40 Hidden Artworks Painted on the Edges of Books

 

 

22. Paradise Lost, 1876
by John Milton
Milton Triptych

milton triptych fore edge book painting 40 Hidden Artworks Painted on the Edges of Books

 

 

23. Latin and Italian poems of Milton, 1808
by John Milton
The Inn at Edmonton

the inn at edmonton milton fore edge book painting 40 Hidden Artworks Painted on the Edges of Books

 

 

24. Marmion, 1811
by Sir Walter Scott
Lindesfarne Abbey

lindesfarne abbey fore edge book painting 40 Hidden Artworks Painted on the Edges of Books

 

 

25. The Poetical Works of Alexander Pope, 1863
by Alexander Pope

alexander pope residence fore edge book painting 40 Hidden Artworks Painted on the Edges of Books

 

 

26. Poems by William Cowper, Esq., v.1 1808
by William Cowper

church ruins by lakefront fore edge book painting 40 Hidden Artworks Painted on the Edges of Books

 

 

27. Select British poets, v.3 1824
Various Authors
Wimborne Minster

wimborne minster fore edge book painting 40 Hidden Artworks Painted on the Edges of Books

 

 

28. Rokeby, 1813
by Walter Scott
View of Barnard Castle

view of barnard castle 40 Hidden Artworks Painted on the Edges of Books

 

 

29. The causes, appearances, and effects of the
seasonal decay and decomposition of nature
, 1837 by Robert Mudie

hidden artworks on the edges of books gif

hidden artworks on the edges of books gif

 

 

30. The curse of Kehama, 1812
by Robert Southey
Indian River Scene with Hindu Temple

indian river scene fore edge book painting 40 Hidden Artworks Painted on the Edges of Books

 

 

31. Lalla Rookh, 1818
by Thomas Moore
Tyburn Turnpike, London

street scene at tyburn fore edge book painting 40 Hidden Artworks Painted on the Edges of Books

 

 

32. The lives of Dr. John Donne, Sir Henry Wotton, [etc.] 1824
by Izaak Walton

man fishing fore edge book painting 40 Hidden Artworks Painted on the Edges of Books

 

 

33. Poems by the late William Cowper, Esq., v.1 1820
by William Cowper
A View of Olney

a view of olney fore edge book painting 40 Hidden Artworks Painted on the Edges of Books

 

 

34. The red true story book
by Andrew Lang and H. J. Ford
The Capture Of Joan Of Arc

capture of joan of arc fore edge book painting 40 Hidden Artworks Painted on the Edges of Books

 

 

35. The causes, appearances, and effects of the
seasonal decay and decomposition of nature
, 1837 by Robert Mudie

fore-edge paintings on books

fore-edge paintings on books

 

 

36. Poems by the late William Cowper, Esq., v.2 1820
by William Cowper

cries on london fore edge book painting 40 Hidden Artworks Painted on the Edges of Books

 

 

37. Poems on several occasions, 1813
by Lord Edward Thurlow
A View of Dublin

dublin fore edge book painting 40 Hidden Artworks Painted on the Edges of Books

 

 

38. The Holy Bible, v.2 1803
‘The Last Supper’

the last supper fore edge book painting 40 Hidden Artworks Painted on the Edges of Books

 

 

39. The Holy Bible, v.2 1795
The Mount Of Olives From The Slopes Of Zion

mount of olives mt zion fore edge book painting 40 Hidden Artworks Painted on the Edges of Books

 

 

40. The anthologies, an extensive collection
of all compositions subsequent to the Liang dynasty

houses and mountains fore edge book painting 2 40 Hidden Artworks Painted on the Edges of Books

 

 

 

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just a pinch buddah perfect timing 40 Hidden Artworks Painted on the Edges of Books

 

 

 

the starry night vincent van gogh close up 40 Hidden Artworks Painted on the Edges of Books

 

 

 

trumpet traquea 40 Hidden Artworks Painted on the Edges of Books

 

 

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