St. Cuthbert's Gospel of St. John :: The Oldest European Binding

This event is POSTPONED. Please email for information about future workshops.
$ 750.00

August 17th, 2020 9:30 AM

  • Instructor: Michael Burke
  • Workshop Type: Binding
  • Workshop Status: Closed
  • Workshop Start: August 17th, 2020 9:30 AM
  • Workshop End: August 21st, 2020 5:30 PM
  • Sessions: 5

St. Cuthbert’s Gospel of St. John (also known as the Stonyhurst Gospel) dates from the end of the 7th century. It was found in remarkably good condition in the year 1104 inside the coffin of St. Cuthbert, bishop of Lindisfarne, who now rests at Durham Cathedral.

St, Cuthbert’s Gospel is a small binding, very beautiful and exquisitely made, and is of tremendous importance to bookbinders not only as an example of early English binding, with its intriguing construction, but also for its decoration, which draws on both Islamic, Celtic, and Anglo-Saxon influences. It is now on display in the permanent exhibition of treasures at the British Library.

The book is sewn by link stitch with thread laced into wooden boards. It has a primary endband with a secondary endband sewn through the spine leather. A Celtic knotwork pattern is laid out on the boards with thin cord, and is attached using an ingenious technique of weaving and pegging.

The book is covered in terra cotta goatskin molded over the cords, which picks out the design in relief on the upper board. It is then embellished with a little blind tooling, and part of the tooled area is picked out with yellow pigment, closely emulating the original decoration.

Materials to Bring: TBD

Workshop Fee (includes $100 materials fee): 750.00

Date & Time: Monday-Friday, August 17-21, 2020 :: 9:30am-5:30pm

Location: 375 Rhode Island St, San Francisco, CA 94103

Note: Please read over the SFCB Registration Policies before signing up for a class


About the Instructor | Michael Burke

Michael Burke studied bookbinding with Dominic Riley and paper conservation with Karen Zukor. He lives in the Lake District, where he teaches bookbinding. In recent years he has taught and lectured at Society of Bookbinders conferences and seminars, and at Guild of Bookworkers meetings in the USA, as well as teaching tours in Australia, New Zealand and Brazil. Each year he teaches summer school at the San Francisco Center for the Book and across the USA. Michael researches the structures of ancient and medieval bindings, and has a Masters degree in the History of the Book from the University of London.

Past Student Reviews:

“Michael was excellent.”

“Michael is a great teacher and understands that some of us love binding and are trying really hard to become great binders.”

“I loved this workshop. Michael was so knowledgeable, the teaching was really in-depth and the project we got to do was an incredible work of art in addition to being a historically important binding style. I especially liked how clearly Michael explained the elements of the structure, how the work together and how they informed later binding styles.”

$ 750.00
SAN FRANCISCO, CA 94103-5133
United States