Taking Book Art to the Edge: Fore-Edge Paintings

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.

Posted on: September 21, 2012

Mike Rankin

Mike is the Editor in Chief of InDesignSecrets.com, InDesign Magazine, and CreativePro.com. He is also the author of several lynda.com video training series, including Font Management Essential Training, InDesign FX, and InDesign CC: Interactive Document Fundamentals.

1 Comment on Taking Book Art to the Edge: Fore-Edge Paintings

  1. Very nice old age art and paintings.Thanks a lot i was in search of somethings like your blog for my
    Hawaii art
    project.Thanks a lot.

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