In 12th century Europe books were mainly the dominion of the clergy containing gospels and religious texts and learned (rare) aristocracy. Considered precious, each being written by hand, they were bound into wooden boards which were then covered either fully or partially in leather. The leaves of parchment sewn first onto leather thongs for additional support then the thongs were threaded through channels cut into the spine edges of the boards, making strong yet flexible bindings. Books were often kept locked in chests and had extended flaps at the head and tail of the spine to aid in lifting them from their containers. Storing a book in this manner allowed the weight to have been equally distributed along the foredge with the added benefit of allowing air between the pages thus preventing mildew and mould.
While still a Queen Elizabeth Scholar, The British Library commissioned Laura to make facsimile medieval books for permanent exhibition. She spent countless hours studying these 800 year old bindings and her resulting efforts, whilst contemporary, are as close to those of the 12th century originals as possible.
Utilising historically correct alum tawed thongs as sewing supports, the leaves of the books are of a thick handmade paper with cover boards of hand sawn, hand carved oak finished with a leather covering of either deep red goat skin or alum tawed (a creamy white) goat skin. The tabs, end bands and leaves are all beautifully hand-stitched with historically correct linen thread. Hold one of Laura's Medieval books in your hands and you will come to completely understand the sensation of wonder the written word once held for mere mortals.
The two books offered through Thistle & Broom are based on historic proportions. Should you desire different sizes and shapes, (e.g. portrait, landscape or square or albums) or with modern hand prepared parchment (in lieu of the standard hand crafted paper) are certainly available, we are happy to oblige your connoisseurship, please use our enquiry form for special pricing.
Your purchase serves to benefit an unrestricted fund for the National Museum of Scotland to bring Scotland's treasures home.