Saturday, September 17, 2016

Works of William Penn

I was pretty determined to make more rapid progress on the two works of William Penn when I walked into the bindery on Thursday. No sooner had I gotten in than a bag of cookies on the counter got my full, I mean, FULL attention; Our current intern, Ms.S brought us homemade oatmeal raisin cookies. Oh, heck. Cookies first, work second. Common sense, yo! As I was hogging down the cookies like I haven't eaten for a week, an image of the Quaker Oats dude kept coming to my mind; his peculiar smile interfering with my pleasure time of the sweet deliciousness, as if to tell me to shift my focus back to work. Duh! Stop it! Stop smiling! Who is this Quaker dude, anyway!

So I googled it.  ....

And, his identity turned out to be ... ahh... none other than William Penn, indeed...... coincidence? uhh... you tell me, crazy paranormal junkies!

So the books here are two different works by William Penn. One is a first edition Wisdom Justified published in 1673. And the other is A Treatise of Oaths, also a first edition published in 1713. Basically, the client asked me to bind them identically based on the original cover of A Treatise of Oaths. I could simply blind-tool the Cambridge just like the original, but it was rather too boring, to be honest. So I decided to add another layer of mottling to give an extra dimension; you can easily make normally a too rigid Cambridge prettier by doing multiple layers. ;-)

Wisdom Justified was missing the title page, so the client asked me to find it online, and print/insert it in the book. Boy, you can find anything online nowadays, eh? I digitally cleaned it up and printed it on a 17th century antique paper. - we keep a collection of antique papers of different eras for these sort of jobs. (Just like forgers would. sheeee!)
One interesting thing about this work is that Wisdom Justified has a hand written note by George Whitehead, one of the original Quaker leaders with whom Penn had debated on the foundation of Quakerism. The note suggests the book was a gift from Penn.


  1. Good evening,
    Every time I see the standard of the work that you do, it makes me realise how far I still have to go!
    To see your work is very good.
    Thank you.
    Mit freundlichen Grüßen

    1. Thanks. ;-) I, too have a long long way ahead of me to master this craft. Someday,, someday.

  2. I have several comments/questions:

    1. Spectacular!
    2. Destiny, not coincidence.
    3. Not having inspected many truly antique books, I'd always thought that laid paper (with the ridges) was a modern "fancy" paper, but after seeing this and doing a little research, I discovered that it was indeed the most common paper used in the era before paper was machine-made. Someday I'll probably use this knowledge -- thank you!
    4. I'm so relieved to see the title page facsimile. I've had to do that occasionally to fix a badly worn or torn page, but wasn't sure if it was "proper". I won't worry about that in the future! Or SHOULD I?
    5. What is a "Cambridge"? Is a Cambridge usually "too rigid", and does adding extra layers of mottling make it less rigid? I confess my ignorance of the word except as a place where fine bible are produced, and I'm not finding much help online.

    Thanks for the help and the great work!

    1. Thanks Todd! And printing the title page was what the client wanted and because it was missing, not damaged or torn, that it wasn't a bad idea to do so. If it's still present yet badly damaged, you ought to repair it. ;-)

      Cambridge is a kind of design that normally consists of double rectangular borders with decorative ornaments on four corners. It can be tooled in gold extravagantly, or simply tooled blind, which you often see in academical books and periodicals, just like these books here.

  3. Ahh, NOW I understand what you'd said about the Cambridge and its "rigidity" (i.e., aesthetic rather than physical), and I see how the mottling beautifies it manyfold. Enlightenment appreciated!

    And, okay, okay... I just need to improve my paper repair skills :-)

    Keep inspiring us.

  4. Of course I know all about Will Penn, because I live in the state that's named after him. I know some Quakers and let me tell you this: they sing really nice songs, and they swear. They swear a lot.