I’ve recently started sharing some of my favourite covers from the books in my collection. I don’t have as many books as I once did, but there are still around two thousand, so there are plenty to choose from. But going through making my initial selections prompted another thought. Book spines.
Yep, as well as great covers I have numerous books with fantastically decorated spines. These are all hardbacks and most of them seem to come from the later nineteenth or early twentieth centuries.
Macmillan in particular seemed to put a real effort into producing lovely spines on their books between 1900 and 1920 or thereabouts. I have editions of works by Thomas Hardy and Rudyard Kipling that I could stare at for ages with wonderful Art Nouveau spines. JM Dent is another publisher who produced fab spines and I have a set of Bosworth’s Life of Samuel Johnson with fab Arts and Crafts artwork on their spines.
Since we normally spend more time looking at the spines of our books as they sit on our shelves than we do the covers, ought we not be more concerned about tracking down books with great art work on their spines than on the covers?
Just a thought. Let me know what you think.