You can judge a book by its cover : a brief survey of materials [Smith, Romilly Saumarez, 1954-]

Bound in full thickness yellow goatskin, resist dyed in a range of colors from orange to dark red; bound long-stitch with sections sewn through the cover, covering straps and spine piece, then folded back to cover exposed sewing; with removable leather book band; yellow endleaves; gilt edges; in a matchbox-style case.

Romilly was born in London in 1954 and attended Camberwell School of Art and Crafts from 1975 to 1978 to study paper conservation and subsequently bookbinding. After leaving Art School she worked at the Zaehnsdorf Bindery as a forwarder before establishing her own bindery in 1980. She has taught at the London College of Printing and the Guilford College of Technology and recently she has been a visiting lecturer at the new M.A. Book Arts course at Camberwell in addition to being external examiner at Roehampton for their B.A. in bookbinding and calligraphy. In 1986 she was elected a fellow of Designer Bookbinders. From 1982 to the present her bindings have been exhibited extensively. She works at home in a very small space and does not have a board chopper because there is not enough room. While she yearns for more space her small bindery has its compensations; it opens on to the garden at the end of which is Hawksmoor’s great church, St. Annes, and that is a constant inspiration to her.


The cover is a full thickness yellow goatskin, resist dyed in a random pattern of colors ranging from orange to dark red, and stuck to a turquoise handmade cover paper. The endpapers are dull yellow. This is a long stich binding with the sections sewn through the cover, covering straps and spine piece. The covering straps are then folded back to cover the exposed sewing. The text edges are gilded, as are the edges of the back strip. The edges of the covering straps and the detachable closure piece are painted with acrylic paint, orange red and turquoise, respectively. She thought it would be interesting to use a structure based on a historical type but looking very contemporary. The box works like a match-box and is covered with various materials to complement the binding. Sally Teague wrote the title on a label on the front of the box.