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Re: [BKARTS] German Primary Headband Questions



Hi Daniel,

James covered the subject much more eloquently, but here's my take:

A subject like this is loaded with semantic and historical pitfalls;
hopefully others will have more insight than I. But here goes.

Daniel Winston wrote:
Paula Young writes in Bookbinding & Conservation By
Hand, 1995 p.110:
"German Style Headbands.  The type of headband where
every stitch is carried into the book--usually
referred to as German style--is probably the strongest
and most durable, but it takes longer to work.
Reputedly it was not introduced until the early
twentieth century, so it probably should not be used
on older books."

What do others think about this?  My first thought
was,
where does she get this idea?

Well, she studied in Germany. I don't know if she studied with Wiemeler, who was the preeminent German binder of the early 20th century. He seems to have been responsible for much of the increased technical and esthetic sophistication of the German hand binding.

Then is it NOT appropriate to sew a german primary headband on a 15th or 16th century book, and be sympathetic to the historical structure?

Here comes the semantics. I wouldn't consider this a primary endband, for the following reasons: - It's sewn with silk rather than linen - Even though Young shows a cord core, I was taught to use a shaped laminate of leather and vellum - The endband is not sewn through the centers of the sections

I think of primary endbands more in terms of plain linen sewn onto cord
cores, often with a back bead, which can if desired support a second
decorative sewing. For reference check Giuffrida, Greenfield & Hille and
Szirmai.

I suspect the German endband is more closely related to the 18th & 19th
century English endbands than to the earlier types, and for this reason
probably wouldn't use it in a conservation treatment for the period you
mention. It is my endband of choice for design bindings, though.


Then how does a conservation binding stay sympathetic
to the historical structure?

First of all by examining and understanding the structure of the book to be treated. Secondly by, hopefully, having a fair firsthand knowledge of the history of bookmaking and binding; and being aware of current practices in the field.

Don Rash

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