Recently I added some of the coffee table books to this online library. In contrast I have looked out a few of the small books to add. On average these measure 10cm by 15cm. They vary in age going from the 19th century to the late 20th century. I think you will agree that each has its own merits in appearance but surely you cannot beat the title ‘Roses: a celebration in words and paintings’. Something I would like to do every day in the very same way that this book has done.
Although dust jackets have been around for nearly 200 years for the protection of book covers it was not until the 20th century that they arrived in all their artistic glory. Prior to this, many books had ornate and artistic tooled bindings. In the case of rose books this disguised the fact that there were few illustrations within. Black and white woodcut illustrations were quite common but colourful illustrations were very expensive to produce so were rarely included. Occasionally two editions of a book were printed as in the case of ‘A Book about Roses’; a Popular Edition and a Presentation Edition. The :Popular Edition contained the text but had no painted rose frontispiece or gold embossing on the cover. It was, however, cheaper and more affordable for a wider public.
I have included here a selection of the ornate 19th century rose books in the library. Some I have included before but one or two I think are worthy of a repeat performance!
The attractive spines.
‘Amateurs Rose Book (1894) Shirley Hibberd.
‘The Rose Book’ 1913) H. H. Thomas.
‘A Book about Roses’ (1869) 18th Ed. Twentieth Century.
‘The Book of Roses’ (1922) Louis Durand.
‘A Book about Roses’ (1869) 1st Ed.
‘Cultivated Roses’ (1899) Sanders T.W.
‘Beauties of the Rose’ (1850-1853) Henry Curtis.
There must be at least 30 very large books, which have been published, dedicated to the rose which fall into this category. They have attractive covers and many illustrations within them. These are just a few . . . . .
The very first dust-jackets, around 1850, were plain brown paper coverings purely to keep the books clean. At the end of the 19th and beginning of the 20th century they became more attractive but the rose book coverings had to wait until later in the century.
A number of these books had beautiful covers and spines with impressed gold and colourful decoration.