At the start of this week, I posted a story about the Boston Public Library’s awesome Flickr photostream. While researching that story, I came across another cool tidbit about fore-edge painting, which refers to a style of book decoration where an artist would paint on the edge of a book’s pages. Most often these paintings would be on the thumb-edge, or fore-edge of the pages, hence the name. Amazingly, some artists even took the step of creating hidden fore-edge paintings, which become visible only when the book pages are fanned out. Now there’s something you can’t do with an ebook!
To showcase its collection of fore-edge paintings, the Boston Public Library has created a website called On the Edge: The Hidden Art of Fore-edge Book Painting, with more than 200 high-resolution images of these incredible paintings.
Abebooks.com also has articles on the history of fore-edge painting, as well as this brief video on the topic.
And the Kent State University Library has a Flickr set of more than 50 fore-edge paintings.