Fairy Legends and Traditions of the South of Ireland was written and compiled by Thomas Crofton Croker and printed in full posthumously and edited by his friend Thomas Wright, with a memoir of the author written by his son, Thomas Dillon Croker. Though about Ireland's legends it was printed in London probably around 1873 to 1875 as a subsequent edition. It is hard to determine the actual date because the second title page, which has been found to have the date in other editions, is not in this copy.
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Paper, though not often used for final covers, was often used in conjunction with leather or cloth to keep a book beautiful but sturdy. Marbled paper was a favorite, but other decorated papers, though uncommon, were used, as paper was easy to print illustrations on.
This marbled paper would have been made by dissolving powdered alum (aluminum sulfate) in water and then paint it over the paper that will be marbled. Carrageenan, a gelatin powder made from seaweed, is then blended with water to make size, which is thicker and can hold the paint on top of it without letting it spread too far. This mixture is poured into a tray or frame larger than the paper that's going to be marbled. Paint is then thinned with water and sprayed dropped into the filled tray. You're able to create patterns with rakes or brushes and then place the paper lightly on the side that was covered with alum onto the paint, lift it gently, and let it dry.
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Binding is the basics of book construction, and sewing the quires together is what keeps a book intact, though time and use will always wear a book out. Every binder has a different way of doing it, and in more modern years it is done with a machine, and mostly with glue rather than sewn with thread, though covers like this are much more trade than machine done.
The covers, done by the binder, can be made in a variety of ways, this one in particular called a half-binding (with leather edges and paper cover). The binding, upon inspection, is sewn on three sewing supports that are secured underneath the endpapers. This may be a hard thing to see directly, so visiting the binding page in Topics may help to better visualize what this means. If you would like to do this, or to see how covers are done, click on the button below.
That's all for the cover!
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