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Re: [BKARTS] craft standards, poor books

This interesting thread reminded me of an old query of mine. There is a term in bookbinding known as "alla rustica." When I was still quite new to bookbinding, I had a client who asked me to bind a book "alla rustica." I had no idea what that meant, so I asked Don Etherington, not finding it in Bookbinding and the Conservation of Books. Don wrote back that he had been unable to find any information on the term. I much later asked Bernard Middleton who said it was a book bound in paper covers, in a simple style with no headbands, with rough cut edges. In 1991, I found the term in Michele Valerie Cloonan's Early Bindings in Paper to wit on page 57:

"binding alla rustica. This term was used in both the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries to describe Italian paper-covered books made from heavy cover paper. 'The Italians do still continute to bind in a coarse thick paper, called binding alla rustica, in a clownish manner' (Postlethwayt, I, 1751).
'In . . . binding alla rustica, a coarse thick paper is employed, which very soon wears out, unless it is used with the greatest care' (Horne, I (1814): 296)."

Cloonan has more on p. 26.

Barbara E. Kretzmann
The Cutleaf Bindery
117 Brandon Place
Ithaca, NY 14850-6115
e-mail: cutleaf7@xxxxxxxxxxxxx

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