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

Bound in crimson Oasis goatskin with a design of curved lines inlaid and onlaid with fabric, leather, and gold tooling; spine lettered in gold; headbands sewn in blue and white; Zebra marbled endpapers; gilt edges. 

Deborah Evetts was born and educated in England. She attended Brighton College of Art and The Central School of Arts and Crafts in London, studying bookbinding with William Matthews and typographic design with Ray Roberts. She taught in the British Art School system before emigrating to the United States in 1967. She became an American citizen in 1973. Her first job in the U.S. was teaching bookbinding classes at the St. Crispins’ Bindery in New York. Then, in 1969, she became Book Conservator at The Pierpont Morgan Library. She has unusually broad rare book and manuscript conservation experience, working on early children’s books and games, illuminated manuscripts, artist’s sketchbooks, incunables, autograph letters, music manuscripts, to name only a few. Evetts consults with, and works privately for, museums, libraries and private collectors. She lectures to professional organizations and book clubs on conservation and binding, and gives workshops on all aspects of binding and conservation to bookbinding groups. A Fellow of Designer Bookbinders and a member of the Guild of Book Workers, she has shown regularly in their exhibitions, and has bindings in many important collections, both public and private. As Book Conservator at the Morgan Library, she successfully combined three careers: as a creative artist, a conservator, and as a teacher and lecturer.


 Sewn on two linen tapes. The endpapers are experimental Zebra marble paper made in the early 1970s. The edges are trimmed and gilt. The two-color headbands are handsewn over a leather/vellum core. The crimson Oasis goat skin case is stamped with a design of curved lines. The lines were then filled with fabric, leather and/or gold tooling. The design is intended to display some different binding materials in an interesting way without cluttering the cover. The use of a lot of gold enlivens the design as light refracts from the surface, and the asymmetric layout produces dynamic spaces for the eye to discover. Evetts comments, “My basic approach is to design a binding which complements the design and literary content of the text block. Sometimes an illustration, or portion thereof, can be adapted for the binding design, not slavishly copied, but transformed by the different materials used to express the same idea. Another time a forceful concept for the text will be the impetus for the design. The limitations imposed by handling and shelving should be respected, and are the reasons I generally use the traditional materials.”