Fore Edge Painting
A Hidden Art
This weekend a few of our number attended a workshop run in association with the Society of Bookbinders to learn the art of fore edge painting with artist and bookbinder, Martin Frost.
The earliest fore edge paintings are thought to date back to the 10th century and were usually symbolic in nature. From around 1650 the disappearing fore edge painting was invented, in this type you cannot see the painting when the book is closed - only when the pages are fanned out. This is the style of painting the girls had a go at on Saturday.
The edges of the book must first be gilded, traditionally in gold but nowadays foil comes in many different colours. A clamp is used to hold the book with the fanned edges of the pages exposed. The bookbinder then paints, using a very dry colour, onto the exposed fore edge - landscapes, patterns, portraits or whatever is in their imagination! Once the painting is dry the pages can then be realeased to hide the artwork.
It is a long and precise process but aren't the results amazing!
Has anyone else tried this amazing hidden art? If so we'd love to see your photos! Perhaps, we'll practice in the workshop a little more and you can come and have a go with us!
You can find more information on the work and classes by Martin Frost on his website