Samuel Daniel, The Whole Works of Samuel Daniel, London, 1623. Collection David Kasten.
Seeing someone’s name, or a list of names, in a book is not unusual. It is still practiced to indicate ownership, prevent theft, and possibly to add value depending on the name. Names when accompanied by dates are often useful for establishing family history and can aid in dating bindings and repairs.
Earlier books sometimes posit the locus of identity to the book itself; “I belong to Peachey” for example. Sometimes a name is followed by the phrase, “this is my book”. This has always seemed a bit strange to me—why would someone sign a book that wasn’t theirs? Doesn’t the name alone signify ownership?
In this case, perhaps it doesn’t. Did Thomas Sedgewick sign a book that wasn’t his? The writing appears to be from the same hand; the ink color and degree of corrosion are quite similar, and the handwriting looks similar to me, especially the heavy “k”‘s at the end. Another possibility is that after reading the book he no longer wanted to be associated with it. Or maybe someone else added the second line, to deny Thomas Sedgewick ownership, or simply as a joke?
“I hate them. It’s like making believe there’s another kind of sex. There isn’t another kind of sex. There isn’t another kind of book! A book is a book is a book.” Maurice Sendak (June 10, 1928-May 8, 2012)
Most bookbindings function as protection for the text contained within. This, however, is a bookbinding that also functions as a strop. I rebound Ron Hock’s The Perfect Edge: The Ultimate Guide to Sharpening for Woodworkers in reverse calf in order to make it work as a not-so-fine binding/ strop. This book is one of the best on sharpening, containing an excellent overall assortment of information. It is loaded with practical advice, overviews of the various sharpening systems and informative photos. I recommend it as a textbook to accompany the sharpening workshops I teach.
Anyway, this was the first time I constructed a reverse calf binding– the paring took a bit more time since most of the strength of the leather (hair side) was cut away, and the caps were a bit tricky to form. The book was sewn on 5 quarter inch linen tapes, the edges decorated with Golden Fluid Acrylics chromium oxide green mixed with airbrush medium and Staedtler Karat water-soluble pencils, and the endbands simply sewn in purple silk over a cord core. The front cover was coated with a .5 micron chromium oxide honing compound, for preliminary stropping, the back left bare for a final polish. It will be interesting to see how it looks in a couple of months when the metal particles start to build up.