Brown or yellow discoloration to any part of a book, typically caused by exposure to sunlight or acidic materials such as newspaper clippings. Mechanically-ground wood pulp paper used in books from the mid-nineteenth century onwards is prone to tanning from its high acid content. Leather turn-ins often tan the adjacent endleaves.
A tear to a leaf or dust jacket has been repaired by closing the tear and placing a piece of self-adhesive cellophane tape behind it. Generally not a repair executed by a professional book restorer.
Pieces of flexible material, either material (usually linen or silk) or tawed leather, used to tie the fore edges of a binding together; often found in limp vellum bindings where the fore edges might otherwise be liable to spring apart. In older bindings, the ties are frequently lacking.
Lightly attached by gum or paste, usually at the inner edge. Tipped-in items may include integral material, such as the colour plates in deluxe illustrated books, or extraneous matter such as letters or signed slips of paper added later by the owner.
Each plate is preceded by a thin sheet of tissue, intended to prevent any offsetting from the illustration onto the adjacent text page. Tissue guards may be tipped in or loosely inserted. It is not normally possible to state whether or not they were issued by the publisher, and so their presence or absence is rarely considered crucial.
The page at or near the beginning of a book which bears the title. The title page falls on a recto, and typically bears the title of the book, the name of the author, and the publisher’s imprint and date of publication at the foot. This may be simplified in modern books, especially in paperback editions, with the publication date and other details relegated to the verso. The earliest printed books did not have a title page, but were identified by the first few letters of the text, or incipit. The separate title page did not begin to come into widespread use until the end of the fifteenth century.
top edge gilt
The top edge of the book left exposed by the binding has been gilded. The other two edges may be left untrimmed, or simply ungilded. The gilt forms a seal to prevent dust and moisture penetrating the bookblock, and is a regular feature of deluxe book production. Other booksellers sometimes abbreviate to “t.e.g.”.
The top edge of the bookblock has been stained or dyed one colour, leaving the other edges uncoloured, a technique usually limited to modern books. Some top stains are liable to fading if exposed to light.
In the hand-binding era, a significant proportion of books were normally stocked and sold ready bound, with a range of further binding options available on request. These are conventionally called trade bindings. The best recent survey of this is Stuart Bennett’s Trade Bookbinding in the British Isles, 1660-1800; which can be shelved next to David Pearson’s English Bookbinding Styles 1450–1800. Both these books challenge the traditional belief that the majority of books in the hand-binding era were put into bespoke bindings executed to the individual buyer’s personal requirements.
Calf stained with acids in conventional imitation of the branches of a tree.
In a leather-bound book, the portion of leather that wraps over the edges of the boards and is glued down to the inner side of the covers. These can be decoratively blind- or gilt-stamped. Turn-ins featuring a lacy gold pattern are called inner dentelles.
typed letter signed
A letter typed either by its author or his or her secretary and signed by its author in his or her own autograph. Traditionally abbreviated as “TLs”, though at the risk of confusion with the Times Literary Supplement, and not our practice.