Secret Fore-Edge Paintings Discovered
Some fascinating images of the nineteenth century’s elegant answer to flick books have been discovered by researchers at the University of Iowa.
Fore-edge painting, which is believed to date back as early as the 1650s, is a way of concealing a painting on the edge of a book so that it can only be seen when the pages are fanned out at a slant. Once the pages are are placed at an angle, the individual strips of paint come together to form a full painting.
Findings of such fore-edge paintings are very rare. Researchers at the University of Iowa’s Special Collections and University Archives Department made this recent discovery of the technique on a 1837 edition of a book called Autumn by Robert Mudie. Further research found that fore-edge paintings were hidden on his other seasonal books; Spring, Summer and Winter, with each painting reflecting elements of the season after which the book is named.
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