Violet’s Album

Book dimensions: H 400 x W 400 x D 60mm
Box dimensions: H 500 x W 500 x D 80mm
Bound in 2023
Private Collection

About the book:
This book is photograph album, commissioned to hold photographs of a little girl called Violet.

About the binding:

  • A K-118 style photo album binding, with linen hinges.
  • The spine is covered in purple leather from J. Hewit and Sons, with the name of the baby hand-pierced and the letters backed with real gold leaf.
  • The boards are covered in green book cloth, with numerous leather onlays and embroidery applied to the covers.
  • The book covers are adorned with real gold leaf that was backed onto Japanese tissue, to create the title lettering, filling in the embroidered borders as well as being used in the climbing leaves on the front cover.
  • The violet flower on the centre of the front cover was just from thinly pared onlays and heavily built up with embroidery threads to add detail.
  • The vintage garden on the back cover also features a number of heavily embroidered elements, sewn over a base of thinly pared leather.

Design Description:

There was a series of books published in the late 1800s by Cassell and Co called, “Familiar Wild Flowers”, written by F. Edward Hulme. This was his first major work raising his amateur interest in natural history to an art, supported by his association with various colleges and other institutions. The work was originally issued in monthly parts between 1878 and 1884 with the cloth bound volumes being issued from late 1883. Bound in green book cloth with distinctive golden borders and titling on the cover, this was the basis of the design for the front cover of the album, substituting in the name of the baby, “Violet” onto the cover, along with her birth details at the bottom (due to the private nature of the baby’s name and birth date, parts of the binding have been edited to conceal these details).

The back cover of the album was adorned with a bespoke vintage-looking garden design. The client had the wonderful idea to create a garden with items that she craved whilst pregnant with Violet. The items that were able to be planted each got their own little pots and flower beds in the space: blueberries; strawberries; raspberries; oranges (for orange juice); salad leaves; sugar snaps and cucumbers. All the extra items that weren’t able to be ‘planted’ got a spot on a central garden table, as if laid for a picnic: pasta; fried rice; NYC sesame bagels; peanut butter and blueberry jam sandwiches; coconut and mango sorbet; custard creams; peanut butter biscuits and also a cup of English breakfast tea with a spoonful of honey!

Concealed from view in this series of images, additional memorable dates were tooled on areas around the circular path including such things as; ‘First Smile’; ‘First Roll’ and ‘Crawling’. Inside the covers on the front and back doublures I embroidered letters written by the mother and father to Violet.

If you wan to read more about how this book was made, there will soon be a blog post written about each aspect of making the binding.

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