Behind the Cover: Lindau Gospels

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Every Paperblanks® book is inspired by world art and culture, by traditional craft and practice, and by visionaries, rebels and artists across the ages. Behind the Cover is a blog series about the origins of our designs.

Lindau Gospels - Stack - (3)

The Lindau Gospels’ binding was designed to inspire awe when the book was carried in processions or displayed on an altar. The back cover, in particular, stands out as a piece of bookmaking masterwork and we are honoured to reproduce it for our Lindau Gospels series. Tooled in gilt, silver and enamel and adorned with jewels, this ornate binding stands as a powerful manifestation of art as a vehicle for belief.

Handstitched - Lay Flat

Crafted in a German workshop near Salzburg between 750 and 800 AD, this gold and jewelled binding now stands proudly in New York’s Morgan Library and is heralded as being one of the most important acquisitions of the collection. J.P. Morgan purchased the illuminated manuscript in 1901, and it was this exquisitely designed book that set a new direction for many subsequent additions to his collections.

Lindau Gospels - Grande - Book edge printThe Lindau binding is an archetypical representation of early- to mid-9th-century book publishing, with the overall effort being focussed more on ornamentation than on contents. During this time period, the majority of citizens would not have known how to read but would be drawn to the book cover as a metaphor for the information held within. Religious works, in particular, were given this treatment as the stories could easily be imparted to followers without a great deal of explanation.

Today, this binding continues to be admired as a gorgeous highlight from the medieval bookmaking era, whether or not the religious connotations are strongly felt. At Paperblanks® we find inspiration everywhere, and we are pleased that this elaborately designed book from early history has become such a well-loved part of our selection.

Click here to find Lindau Gospels in a store near you

About Paperblanks®: At Paperblanks®, we believe that art should have a place in all aspects of life. That’s why we follow the artist’s way in everything we do – creating, crafting and releasing designs we believe have the power to touch people. For more about Paperblanks®, go to our website at paperblanks.com.

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4 comments on “Behind the Cover: Lindau Gospels

  1. i live in australia and am trying to find an online store in UK or here where I can buy the midi UNLINED lindau gospels journal ..it is gorgeous but i can only find it as a lined one..I too want to use it as my sketchbook ..I would be very grateful if you could tell me where I can purchase one on line …many thanks Patricia Howell

    • Hi Patricia,

      Thank you for writing us. We would like to help you track this down. Unfortunately, we do not offer the Midi Lindau Gospels with an unlined interior. We do, however, have an unlined Grande format that makes a great sketchbook. We believe it is available online in Australia at a few retail stores, including Pulp Addiction.

      For more assistance, please feel free to email us at facebook@hartleyandmarks.com, and we will do our best to get you the journal you are seeking.

      All the best,
      The Paperblanks® Team

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