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Chorley Historical and Archaeological Society

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Feb 2020
 
Tue 11 Feb 2020
Dr Mark Lambert - The Development of the Book.

 

As a huge fan of printed books I was looking forward to the presentation by Dr Mark Lambert and his presentation ‘The Development of the Book’.
Early forms of writing evolved from early forms of Sumerian scripts from over 3,000BC. These were pictographs on clay. Around 2,000BC the Egyptians developed papyrus scrolls but the material was organic and could only be used and stored as a rolled up document.


Dr Mark Lambert

Probably the most famous are the Dead Sea scrolls from around 500BC. The books that we are familiar are bound volumes of several sheets and was originally known as the Codex. The first date from around 300AD and the sheets were vellum or parchment made from animal skins.


Sumerian pictographs.

Probably the most famous are the Dead Sea scrolls from around 500BC. The books that we are familiar are bound volumes of several sheets and was originally known as the Codex. The first date from around 300AD and the sheets were vellum or parchment made from animal skins.


Some of the exhibits.


Dead Sea Scrolls 
Over the centuries the spine bindings developed to improve the durability of the book. One form was the wonderfully named kettle stitch. Re-binding of books was a common way of preserving their life and Dr Lambert brought some examples of his own binding work which included a magnificent copy of ‘Midsummer Night’s Dream’ with illustrations by Arthur Rackham's (1867-1939). Even book storage was covered and we heard how books were originally stored flat and only sat end up in later centuries.


Rubaiyat of Omar Khayyam the title Edward FitzGerald gave to his 1859 translation from Persian to English of a selection of quatrains (poems) attributed to Omar Khayyam (1048–1131).

‘Midsummer Night’s Dream’ with illustrations by Arthur Rackham's (1867-1939)
& re-bound by Dr Lanbert.
Some book cases even had a low pelmet along the front to prevent dust ingress onto the tops of the books. In churches the bible was a much used volume and to preserve the spine the bible would often be left open at the last sermon. Books are a great source of knowledge, wisdom, art and research and Dr Lambert showed us that the book itself is an art form.

Illustrations by Arthur Rackham's
(1867-1939).


Illustrations by Arthur Rackham's
(1867-1939)


Illustrations by Arthur Rackham's
(1867-1939).

 
B Harris