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Bookbinder of the Month: Sybil Pye

September 9, 2012 by Erin Fletcher

The British Library houses an immense collection of bookbindings. But if you can’t make it to London you can view incredibly detailed scans of their collection online. This binding of Sir Thomas Browne’s Religio Medici, Urn Burial, Christian Morals and other essays was bound by Sybil Pye in 1940 and is owned by the British Library. Only the upper cover has been digitized, but we can see the book was bound in a black goatskin with 5 raised bands on the spine. The design on the cover has been implemented with onlays in a fair goat and tooled in gold with her signature brass tools. 

  1. A bit confused listing of contents. Religio Medici (1643) – Urn-Burial (1658) and Christian Morals (post. 1716).
    No other essays exist of the author other than ‘The Garden of Cyrus’ (1658) the inseparable companion to ‘Urn-Burial’ and the diptych as a whole, probably erroneously dissected by the editors of this1940 edition here.

    • Thanks for bringing this to light. I hope I made the appropriate changes. The year 1940 refers to when Sybil Pye rebound this edition of Browne’s work which was published in 1902 (this is all according to the information catalogued by the British Library).

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  • My name is Erin Fletcher, owner and bookbinder of Herringbone Bindery in Boston. Flash of the Hand is a space where I share my process and inspirations.
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