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Colleen Theisen, a librarian at University of Iowa's Special Collections and Uni...
Posted by Kevin Hartnett September 11, 2013 09:27 AMThe art world was preoccupied last week with a newly discovered van Gogh, but librarians at the University of Iowa Special Collections & University Archives recently had a neat find of their own: delicate landscape paintings hidden just inside the margins of four 19th-century books. The books are a series of volumes on the four seasons by Scottish writer Robert Mudie that were published in 1837. Sometime later, an unidentified artist adorned each book using a technique known as fore-edge painting, in which the book is fanned open using a special press, which allows the artist to create paintings (in this case, landscapes depicting the seasons) that unfold across the margins of the pages. Fore-edge painting has a magical quality because it's so discreet: When a book is closed, you can't tell the painting is there, meaning the paintings can sit on dusty library shelves for decades without being discovered. That's what happened at the University of Iowa, where the fore-edge paintings avoided notice (despite being documented in the library's catalogue) until a student brought them to the attention of librarian Colleen Theisen.
"They're kind of a secret," says Theisen. "They're one of a kind."
You can see GIFs of the four fore-edge paintings below (from the top: winter, spring, summer, fall). You can read more about the University of Iowa's Special Collections and Archives on its excellent Tumblr. The Boston Public Library also has a number of fore-edge paintings in its collection, which you can see here.
Stunning, Tiny Paintings Found On Vintage Books (IMAGES)
Colleen Theisen, a librarian at University of Iowa's Special Collections and University Archives, recently found these awesome fore-edge paintings on a series of books from the 19th century.
The books are a four volume series by Robert Mudie, one volume for each season of the year, and the paintings reflect each of those seasons. The artist of these mini paintings is unknown.
The books were donated to Iowa's collection by Charlotte Smith. Colleen Theisen captured the paintings by photograph and GIF.
All photos courtesy of Iowa's Special Collections and University Archives/Colleen Theisen.
四本書的頁緣分別有相應四季圖畫 fore-edge painting / Stunning, Tiny Paintings Found On Vintage Books
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