Back in the good ‘ol days of the 19th and 20th century, we decorated the inside covers of our beloved books with wildly colorful papers. Swirls, speckles, wavy lines and crinkled patterns were all used by book binders to ease the transition of a reader’s eyes from the cover of the book to the meat of the book, the textblock. This transition sometimes was decorated, relative to the context of the book. A book about trains might have had some engines merrily chugging across the flyleaf. Other books might have had plain white endsheets, and others wild, splashy, psychedelic colorful swirls.
Like any well-loved tool or object, books have been decorated and embellished from their infancy. You know that feeling you get when you pick up a book that is such a joy to be holding? The distinguished spine catches your eye as your hand wraps around the boards perfectly, and as you crack open the front cover you are hit by a symphony of color and marks. You haven’t even gotten to the information yet, and you’re already under the book’s spell. We know that feeling, too.