You can judge a book by its cover : a brief survey of materials [Clements, Jeff]

Bound in full goatskin with horizontal red goatskin onlay across covers and spine and vertical onlay on front cover; covers tooled with lines of gray plastic foil; green and red headbands; doublures of handmade Indian paper with red goatskin onlays; gilt top edges; in a gray cloth drop-spine box lined with felt.

Jeff was born in Plymouth, England in 1934 and studied art and design at Plymouth College of Art and Design, gaining the National Diploma in Design in 1955. One of the specialist subjects was craft bookbinding. Following two years with the Royal Army Educational Corps, working mostly as an education designer in London, he set up a partnership with Ted Williams in Plymouth, specializing in fine bindings and typographic design. Whenever possible, during his time in the National Service, he attended evening classes at the Central School of Arts and Crafts. His partner moved to America in 1961, but Jeff continued to freelance; between 1961 and 1988 he held several positions teaching typography and bookbinding. In 1957 he became a fellow of Designer Bookbinders (then the Guild of Contemporary Bookbinders), and became its president from 1981 to 1983 and conceived the Horizons International Conference, which was held in 1984. In 1988 Clements and Katinka Keus opened Binderij Meridiaan in Amsterdam, specializing in fine bindings, binding for special occasions, and the restoration of rare books. Bindings by Clements are in collections all over the world, with the most extensive collection of his work being held by the Keatley Trust in Great Britain.


The text is concerned with materials and their use in the history of bookbinding. These materials are either organic (leather, vellum, ect.), or have organic origins (paper). The design then uses the natural materials: goatskin, handmade Indian paper which contains untreated fibers, cotton thread for headbands, and so on, in a manner which vividly illustrates the organic aspects of these materials. The binding is full goatskin binding with a horizontal red goatskin onlay about one inch wide across the spine and front and back covers, with one vertical onlay on the front cover. The oblique onlays are contrasted and held in balance by the few rectilinear lines tooled with grey plastic foil. The doublures are made of handmade Indian paper with some of the red goatskin leather onlays from the covers wrapping around onto the doublures in random shapes. The clamshell box is made of grey cloth with two red goatskin onlays wrapping around the front of the box with one vertical line tooled with grey plastic foil, and the box is lined with felt.