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Bookbinder's Tarnished Image



    This question of the image of the bookbinder has always intrigued me. 
    There are probably some clients who view me as a snot-nosed, dribbling
    idiot, but I don't have that self-image and it doesn't match any bookbinder
    that I have ever met.  I personally prefer Annegret Hunter-Elsenbach's
    theory about the relationship of one's cfrat ability with one's niceness as
    a person.

    We all know of the bookbinders' reputation as a drunkard, and I have read
    some references to it.  In the bookbinding museum in Bath (attached to
    Baynton's bindery) there are some posters depicting binders as red-nosed
    lushes.  Here are two poems that accompany the pictures.
        A great drunkard you are, tho' a bookbinder you be
        There is no man by far such a Toper as thee,
        Besides you're a sponger, and of starve-guts the worst
        Who doom me to hunger, with you I'll ne'er be curst.
                                J.T. Wood, 278, Strand, London

        The animal whose skin,
        You have bound that book in,
        Could not be by half,
        Like you as great a calf,
        Naught else you understand,
        Than binding volumes grand,
        But as lazy as that,
        More often in the Tap.
                        London S. Marks & Sons

    In the introduction to Cyril Davenport's 'Roger Payne', he quotes the note
    that Payne wrote on his bill for Barry's 'Wines of the Ancients':
        Falernian gave Horace, Virgil fire,
        And barley-wine my British muse inspire.
    Davenport adds:'It is quite possible that from this statement grew the
    tradition that poor Payne was addicted to drink...'  I read somewhere that
    Payne's reputation was extended to all bookbinders, and that it was fueled
    by the fact that binders 'at the bench' were given a ration of beer while
    they worked.  If anyone has any comments or information on this question, I
    for one who love to hear.  

    Only one further comment now: If Roger Payne produced the work that he did
    while 'under the influence', I would have to consider the possibility of
    becoming a souse myself.

    My apologies to Marcel for not getting to his question of 05.08.  My wife
    has to be here for me to get into this letter, and since her parents have
    been here for the last two weeks, it has been difficult to get her, me and
    the terminal together at the same time.

    Yes, Marcel, I do hot-stamping, although not a lot of it.  I have never
    tried photopolymer plates, because I assumed that they would melt at those
    temperatures, but I'd be willing to try one next time I'm stamping.  I have
    not heard of silicone plates, but I would like to.  I know what stereotype
    casting is, and I have seen movies of it, but it doesn't really relate to
    what I do.  I use the original metal type when I have it, and have gone
    over to photopolymer for emergency reasons (no Hebrew type with vowel
    points).  I am working on a text now, and am quite excited about the
    possibilites for adjusting spacing that the computer provides.  The problem
    will be deciding when to stop!

    This is from Yehuda Miklaf, Jerusalem, using the access of his wife,
    Maurene Fritz.

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