The Antiquary is the third novel of Sir Walter Scott, originally published in 1816 in Edinburgh. This book is the first volume of two, most likely part of a circulating library, published in New York in 1820. The author is not named, rather simply called "The Author of 'Waverley' and 'Guy Mannering'," Scott's first two novels. The story follows a Scottish antiquary, or collector of dubious objects and amateur historian, on his travels. It's tone is mostly humorous, but the focus it gives to the past's influence on the present allows it pathos as well. It was well received in its day and Scott himself claimed it as one of his favorite of his novels.
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Leather was most often used as covering for books because of its durability and flexibility. Bonded leather, which is a composite of different types of leather, is most commonly used now to bind book in binderies, and cloth overwhelmingly dominant in the manufactured book trade.
This particular leather cover is most likely cow or sheep leather, since it was bound in the United States, tanned and cured like most leather products are before use. The book has been conserved and so the leather itself has been cleaned, lightly re-stained, and rubbed with a gloss that both makes it shine and protects it.
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Text-blocks are made by folding the paper a certain number of times, which also guides the printer in how many pages they can fit on one ream of paper. The most popular foldings are quarto, making 8 pages front and back being folded twice, and octavo, making 16 pages front and back being folded three times. The actual size outcome depends on the size of the original ream of paper but the standardization of folding is the same.
This book is most likely an octavo, based off of the rectangular form of the book and it's small size. Any larger and it would be too big to carry around or slip in a pocket, and any smaller and it would have been too hard to read.
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