You can judge a book by its cover : a brief survey of materials [Delrue, Paul C., 1944-]

Bound in millboard covered with Irish linen; multicolored, feather-edged pieces of goatskin pasted on cover, doublures, and flyleaves to create a pattern; surface smoothed with PVA and sandpaper; cover, doublures, flyleaves and edges also decorated with small white gouache circles; in a drop-spine box covered with patterned decorative paper; box lined with dark gray suede. 

Paul Delrue was born in London in 1944. Coming from a Catholic boys home, at the age of fifteen, he started in the pattern department of Connolly Brothers, a well-known leather firm. His introduction to bookbinding was through a day release class at the Central School for Arts and Crafts. Quite a revelation, considering a background completely devoid of books. After 12 months at the Central School for Arts and Crafts he was offered an apprenticeship at the University College bindery in London. In 1966 he was sent by the University College to Florence to work on the flood damaged books. In the same year, he was awarded the Under Twenty-One first prize in the Thomas Harrison competition. He was frustrated at being denied the more attractive work at the bindery because of his junior position and decided to open his own bindery in 1971, which he set up in a cedarwood shed in the back garden. Realizing he could bind anywhere, he moved to Wales, where, feeling isolated he moved back to England, first to Chester and in 1996 to the nearby village of Tarvin. Currently he lives and works in Ruthin. The majority of his work is restoring old books but his designer bindings are in collections in Britain, on the continent and in the U.S. Concerned that bookbinding is taught at so few colleges in Britain, he has been conducting classes and encouraging young binders.


When he approached this commission, Paul wanted color above all, he also wanted to use his current technique for a neat and trim effect. The cover was made with thin acid-free millboard covered with Irish linen; tiny multicolored pieces of goatskin, pared thin and feather-edged, were attached to the cover, doublures and flyleaves with paste to produce a pattern. They were then treated with very watery PVA, dried and sandpapered, this process was repeated about 20 times to produce a smooth even surface. The colors are rich and bright with small white circles in gouache. Multiple decorative endpapers are specially designed and made with very strong colors. Sewn silk headbands and edge coloring in dark gouache with small white circles, additionally the top edge has a subdued design similar to the endpapers decoration. A drop black-box is covered in dark blue bookcloth and lined with blackish suede with outside covered in decorative paper with a pattern similar to the endpapers. The title is in india ink.