a book by its cover

In Inspiration
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I am a lifelong collector, and married a kindred spirit, so our house is filled with our accumulated treasures. Clocks, furniture, tools (his), and brooches, boxes, and little things (mine). Art of course. And we both share a passion for books, so every nook and cranny in the house is stuffed with them.

My collecting focus is on antique and vintage books with decorated bindings, also known as publisher’s bindings. They came into fashion in the 19th century and were particularly popular in the Victorian era. Most books in those days lacked the colorful paper book jackets that we are familiar with. Though the decorated bindings looked expensive, they were most often affordably priced. Many had simple embellishments to the binding of the book, often anonymously designed, but my favorite are those which were designed by women artists — Margaret Armstrong, Amy Sacker, Sarah Wyman Whitman. They are like little works of art that fit neatly on a shelf.

Take a look:

Children’s books
Margaret Armstrong designs (note her initials hidden in the design)
A & C Black travel books
The spines are as lovely as the covers
Plants and nature
Home! A two-volume set decorated by Sarah Wyman Whitman

Are you a collector? Share your collecting passions in the comments below.

Happy August! —lucy


  1. Lucy, these are all so beautiful! What an amazing collection… I collect snuff boxes, a collection passed down from my grandmother!

  2. Gosh! I had no idea about these being a specific thing. I’m going to start looking for them on this side of the pond too. Your collection is inspirational.

  3. Wow! I love this, Lucy. Thanks so much for sharing these gems with us. I don’t think I collect anything this extensively. Ha.

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