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Fore-edge painting

Although they don’t get a lot of respect in special collections circles, I’ve always had a certain fondness for fore-edge paintings. You make a fore-edge painting by fanning the right-hand edge of a book downward and painting an image on the edge of the leaves. When you release the leaves to their normal position, the image disappears. Fore-edge paintings were fashionable in the 19th century, but because of their popularity with collectors, it’s not uncommon for 19th century books to have much later paintings applied, for the sake of the resultant price boost. I’m not enough of an expert to judge the authenticity of this painting, but it’s hard not to wonder how a scene of duck hunters ended up on a poem intended “to teach young women the virtues of a pleasant nature” (DNB).

Published in:John Overholt |on May 23rd, 2005 |Comments Off on Fore-edge painting

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