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Under the Covers: A Visual History of Decorated Endpapers

Saturday, January 18, 2014 - Wednesday, May 28, 2014
Beinecke Rare Book and Manuscript Library
121 Wall St., New Haven, CT 06511

Endpapers, slipped discreetly between a book’s binding and text block, are easy to overlook. They developed from a practical need: to protect illuminations from the wear of the hardwood boards that were the covers of medieval books. Over time, binders and publishers began to experiment, using marbled and decorated papers for artistic effect and later putting advertisements, elaborate designs, genealogies, and landscapes on endpapers.

“Under the Covers” traces the development of endpapers from their utilitarian beginnings through the twenty-first century and showcases a striking variety of styles, from silken and marbled endpapers to Dutch gilt and “Images Populaires” designs.