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Embossed Book Cover for the Book Entitled: English Bookbindings in the British Museum

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Design by: Henry van de Velde (1863-1957), Executed by: Atelier Paul Claessens (1861-1939)pre 24/04/1897BrusselsMoroccan leather with a leather inlay gilded by hand38,8 x 29,5 x 7 cm

At the turn of the 20th century, Brussels was a centre for the Arts & Crafts Movement. It was there that Henry van de Velde, designed an exceptional mosaic pattern for the catalogue of English bookbindings of the British Museum. Van de Velde was a well-known Art Nouveau artist who was less famous in his home country of Belgium than he was in Germany. This book cover displays an undulating floral design, framed by a golden line that meets in the centre. The design of the cover is completely independent of the book’s content. Van de Velde entrusted the renowned bookbinder Paul Claessens with the production of the cover. Claessens interpreted the abstract design in a dark green morocco-leather with a coloured inlay. This bookbinding is considered one of the most beautiful of its time.