Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Victorian Books from The Dusty Bookcase

The Dusty Victorian is home to a private library of nearly 5,000 books and with it comes a librarian/archivist/Canadiana expert/husband, at my service. The bookcases at the DV contain Brian's extensive collection of books and The Dusty Bookcase is his blog. Needless to say, his books are his proud possessions and whether they are of great or little value, he treats them all with much respect. He also believes that a book is meant to be read and if damage occurs during the reading process, well it may have lost a bit of value, but the mind is richer for having read it.

Being who I am, I asked him to pull out some nice looking books from the Victorian era, never mind the content or who wrote it. (Poor Brian, he did not marry a kindred intellectual). The covers were either made of linen or leather, often painted and embossed with charming scrolls and/or illustrations typical of the time. Dust jackets, before the 20th century, were non-decorative, minimally descriptive and often discarded before being placed on the bookseller's shelf. They were really only meant for advertising and/or protecting the ornately decorated book during transportation. Made of paper and fragile by nature, a Victorian book with its original dust jacket is extremely rare and if found, should belong in a museum.

I encourage you to click on the images to see in detail, the intricate illustrative work.












A related post on Victorian Law Books from way back.

10 comments:

Pam of Eastlake Victorian said...

Anyes-

Those books are SO beautiful! I guess I really love those old books for their looks more than their content as well. These are very nice examples of Victorian art at it's finest. I especially love 'Dryden's Poems,' 'Ungava' and 'The Garland of Poetry & Prose!' Such beautiful covers, and even the spines are gorgeous!

I'll have to check out your husband's blog. Thank you for sharing these... inspiration for my future library!

-Pam

Liz said...

Wow, they look amazing! I'm intrigued by "The Ordeal of Elizabeth"!
Liz

The Dusty Victorian said...

Hi Pam,
I knew you would like these. Now days, dust jacket design is given more attention than the design of the actual book, but there are exceptions. The writer Alasdair Gray (also an artist) makes a point of decorating his books in a similar way as the Victorian did. You may want to look him up.
Always a pleasure,
Anyès
XX

The Dusty Victorian said...

Hello Liz,
Thank you for leaving a comment. Yes, it must have been quite an ordeal to inspire the writer. I'm sure it must have been very prim and proper just the same, as to not offend the delicate sensibilities of the Victorian lady.
Thank you for dropping in.
Anyès
XX

Richard Cottrell said...

OMG, those books are so amazing and the fact you have so many and they all are so wonderful. I am impressed and jealous at the same time. Thanks for stopping by. Richard at My Old Historic House

The Dusty Victorian said...

Hello Richard,
So glad you enjoyed it.
Always a pleasure,
Anyes
XX

Rose ~Victorian Rose ~ said...

If Pam & Richard are here...I am in GOOD company.
Looking forwad to your developing blog.

Rose

The Dusty Victorian said...

Welcome Rose,
So glad you joined and yes, you are in excellent company.
Anyès
XX

Mark D. Ruffner said...

This lovely collection of books reminds me of the many equally beautiful Victorian scrapbooks I've looked through. We won't be having such tactile experiences with kindles!

The Dusty Victorian said...

Hello Mark,
Having moved across the country 4 times with our books, I can tell you that movers much prefer kindles.
The daggers that came out of their eyes at the end of the day. I think kindles are great though.
Thanks for your comment,
Anyes
XX