Friday, December 30, 2011

Friday's Forgotten Books: 200 Decorative Title-Pages Edited by Alexander Nesbitt

A very esoteric choice, I know. It's a 1964 Dover Publishing art reference/reverence book from my bookshelves. I just got the notion to share it with you today.

This wonky cover is the only flat one I could find online.

I thought Friday's Forgotten (or Overlooked) Books day had been cancelled, but I was wrong. It's alive and thriving and shortly to appear on Todd Mason's blog, SWEET FREEDOM. Patti Abbott who usually collects the Friday links is traveling so Todd has stepped in to do the collecting.

200 Decorative Title-Pages brings back the idea that every part of a book should be beautiful. An idea I can't and won't quibble with since I totally agree. The book reminds us just how gorgeous wood or metal-cut and the painstaking art of 17th, 18th and 19th century engraving can be.

I've checked online for scans of pages from this book since I don't own a scanner. But I think I've posted enough examples to give you an idea of the flavor. It's simply a feast for the eyes.

In the past I've used Nesbitt's book for design ideas and/or solutions. It's a remarkable resource. Thank goodness that Dover still seems to be publishing these sorts of art reference books.

The copy I have does not have tinted pages, but these copies were the only ones I could find online.


  1. Hi, Yvette - I've collected many Dover books for graphic reference, and I've never seen this one — it looks very rich and inspiring. This sort of decoration, and the very much related early map cartouches, fired my imagination when I was very young, and was one step in my choice of graphic design as an occupation. Thanks for featuring a Dover book!

  2. Aren't they fabulous? I have several on my shelves. I love too the way Dover makes them so reasonably priced.

    This one was an early purchase.

    It's around online for a couple of bucks.

    I have a fondness for bordering my artwork and I suspect that it sprang from seeing these early lithographs many years ago. I love the intricacies.

  3. Such gorgeous examples to show us. Thank you!

  4. You're welcome, Ryan.

    Books used to be such rare things of beauty.


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