Thursday, January 29, 2009

Adventures in Medieval Bookbinding, Part 2 : Tegumentum Rubrum

The second medieval leather binding in Monica Monica Langwe Berg's book, Bookbinding: :Limp Bindings from Tallin is called "Tegumentum Rubrum" (for those of you who just dropped by, see my earlier posts here and here for more information about this book and my binding project).

I did a quick search in an online Latin dictionary, and "tegumentum" means "book cover." "Rubrum" means red, and names of all of the bindings in Monica's book refer to the colours of the original book covers.
The original Tegumentum Rubrum, according to Monica, is a German law book from 1282 (all of the bindings covered in her book are in an archive in Tallinn, Eastonia). The cover was made of two pieces of leather stitched together, with a toggle closure made from a rolled-up piece of leather.

Here I am about half-way through making my version of Tegumentum Rubrum:

I chose to use two pieces of thin brown deerskin for the cover. The original binding had two rows of very fine, elegant stitching around the edges, but I did one row instead, and used thicker thread--I wanted a more rustic, handstitched, lets-get-out-and-hew-some-timber look.

In the photo above, my cover is "pointing" toward a picture of the original Tegumentum Rubrum. To the left of my cover is a stack of paper ready to be sewn in, and to the right is the toggle, half done and waiting to be attacked with my handy chisel.

And now, as I neglected to take more photos, I will skip right over a few stages, and show you my finished book:

You will notice on the spine that there are exterior supports for the stitching (the dark-coloured squares). For the supports on this book, I used pieces of a really lovely dark maple leather. I am quite excited about the look of these exterior support thingies, and will definitely be making more books with them.

This is how it looks when open. I used hemp twine for the loop closure. I will keep this Tegumentum Rubrum for myself, as it has a few little flaws, but will make another one soon to put in my Etsy shop.

Stay tuned for my next thrilling adventure in medieval bookbinding--Tegumentum Spadix! :)


Kathleen Coy said...

This is really beautiful. And the deerskin looks so soft!

acornmoon said...

Your book looks great, I like the closure, simple but effective.

Karen said...

Thanks for visiting my blog. Thought I'd come and take a peep at yours :)
How wonderful to be able to make books!

linda said...

Where can I purchase the book about the Tallin bindings?

Your books are beautiful.