Victorian Bookbinders Guild

For all interested in the Art, Craft and Practice of Bookbinding                                             

 English in Egypt  with the life of General Gordon,   published 1885?  Cloth boards with nice gold blocking. All edges Gilt. Badly damaged covers. To be repaired for my personal reading.

english in egypt arrival




Its not an expensive book in todays market,  but has some interesting material, a lovely cloth cover, very much worse for wear, covers detached, and the stitching loose with loose pages in the first and last sections.  I started by oversowing new tapes onto the old sewing, repaired the sections with jap tissue and reinforced the spine. Then I stripped the cloth from the front board, intending to replace the front cloth and part of the spine cloth onto the new cloth covered boards.



025A1483a lz





One of the problems of the binding has been the bodgy attempt at a repair to the loose front hinge. The end papers and first flyleaf and been glued together and onto the front board. The inside of the flyleaf has a nice poem, so I decided to try to recover the poem. Lo and behold, as the endpapers and fly leaf started to separate a few words appeared in reverse. The flyleaf was made of a coated stock. When I soaked it the coating remained attached to the inside of the board endpaper, while the paper dissolved away. I could see some writing in reverse left now on the board endpaper. Intrigued I worked away at the remains of the free endpaper with asoft brush, revealing an extensive inscription, mostly still intact. But it’s in reverse and I couldn’t make head nor tail of it, or more to the point the back to the front of it.


025A1483b lz


A photo, loaded to Photoshop, flipped,  and  a lovely inscriptionn can be viewed. It’s not complete but enough to be able to work out this was a prize from the Port Melbourne School of Art.  Art school? 1885? I thought Melbourne was all convicts and troglodytes at that time!!  

Trove gave me the details of the presentation and competition for 1885  and second hand booksellers refer to the book as undated, believed to be 1885,  so it was  hot off the press.  Trove  confirmed the winners details for 1885, and so my translation of the inscription which  reads;


Port Melbourne School of Art.

Mr S Ridges Prize for Model Drawing,

Senior Division Competitive Examination

Won by

Miss Ada Hodgens

Presented by Mr P Grut  Hon Secretary   ( date was not legible)


So always be on the lookout for hidden treasures.    Link Back to October Meeting

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Victorian Bookbinders Guild Inc.  Incorporated 1981     Registration No A2896  ABN: 97 853 169 281     PO Box 355, Seddon West, Victoria 3011