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

 Registration is closed for this event
$ 475.00

July 9th, 2012 9:30 AM

  • Instructor: Michael Burke
  • Workshop Type: Binding
  • Workshop Status: Closed
  • Workshop Start: July 9th, 2012 9:30 AM
  • Workshop End: July 12th, 2012 5:30 PM
  • Sessions: 4

Monday-Thursday, 7/9-7/12

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. It 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.

In this workshop we will make a facsimile of this most important early binding, faithfully reproducing the sewing pattern, board construction, leather covering, decoration, and endbands. The methods learned can be applied to new designs on future bindings.

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. Prerequisites: Experience with sewing and working with leather will be useful.

Materials to bring: Scalpel and blades; metal ruler; dividers; bone folder; scissors; cutting mat; paring knife; fine artist’s brushes; natural sponge. Please bring (only if you already have, otherwise provided): paring machine; paring knife and strop.

Materials Fee: $60

$ 475.00