Forgotten histories & decorative designs

Yesterday I purchased a selection of (okay far too many) books with the intention of turning some into clocks.  I’d used the Folio Society Shakespeare before to make a clock like this..

Measure For Measure Book Clock it seemed a good idea to bid on a large lot of books to make some more.  I’ve spent the day sorting out what I can create things from. Most of the books are on the way to the charity shop or will be on the bookshelves at Hopkinson (prices from 50p) soon so I can get back some of my shockingly overpriced investment (since I got bid up).  Back to those folio Shakespeare’s…

Folio Shakespeare

There are 37 Shakespeare books which I suspect is complete and I’m one of the few people who enjoyed Shakespeare at school (Macbeth hooked me) so they keep asking me if they can stay on my shelves.  My sensible business head points out the fact I need to make clocks.  My literature/theatre loving head says give them a home and preserve them!  They do have very pretty covers before you even look at the wondrous variety of illustrators in the different volumes (including Dali).

Shakespeare Folio Society detail

Some of the books were crumbling as often seems to happen with the leather spines.  As one opened when I lifted it what at first appeared to be a piece of silver paper slipped in between pages came into view.

Waverly novels photo silvered

The print from the book pages was transferred to parts of the paper and when tipped a certain way in the light I was sure I could make out the profile of a face (looking towards my fingers in this shot).  In the next volume I found what appears to be the same photographic image which had not deteriorated and a number of other photos, many also fading in intriguing ways.

Inside Waverly novels, flower photo Pressed leaves inside Waverly Novels Portrait photo inside Waverly novels Inside Waverly novels torn photos Inside Waverly novels face overlaid with print

Also in the box were some beautifully decorated covers, sadly detaching themselves from the books.

Everyman cover design Green leather, gilt decoration Decorated cover design Swirled leather Leather relief patterned book cover

Also in there was a bible published in 1806.  Amazing to think this was created over two centuries ago.  I wonder whose family it is from?  I know my mum talks of our family bible left when her grandmother died and my grandparents had had to travel several counties to clear the house by bus so could carry very few possessions away with them only practical things the family needed.  I wonder if that still survives somewhere today.

Bible marbled endpaper Family names in bible Family register in Bible 1806 Bible Bible illustration


4 thoughts on “Forgotten histories & decorative designs

  1. this sounds incredible! i could spend hours looking through them all, and I think I would struggle to part with the folio books too, ive been collecting them for a while and struggle not to buy them when I see them in charity shops, even if its a book im not particularly fond of, they’re always so pretty! Do you have a midsummer nights dream in the folio edition? thats my favourite 🙂


  2. It was definitely a full days job as I like to flick and check pages for hidden gems too 🙂 Of course most of it is dust, mould and dead spiders but the odd photo makes it worth the hunt. It was an odd mixture of books for sure with railway, walking, war, science and biography making up a large proportion. I see why they call it a ‘mixed lot’ 🙂 Yes A Midsummer Night’s Dream is here, that is a particularly lovely one. Oh dear I really mustn’t look at them it’s making it impossible to imagine cutting and drilling any of these.


  3. if you havent drilled and cut it already, could I possible buy a midsummer nights dream from you? I have been looking for a nice edition of it for ages and its my favourite one. Its ok if you dont want to sell it as is and want to add it to your collection of book clocks though 🙂


  4. They are all drill free so far thanks to a busy schedule (and their continuous demand to be preserved as a set – la la not listening). I’ve decided to keep a selection of the books for my personal bookshelf and will be looking through them all to choose which next week. I suspect A Midsummer Night’s Dream will end up in my keep choices but if not it’s definitely yours.


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