Sunday, November 7, 2010

West-European batik bookbindings - Dutch Art Nouveau

At the end of the 19th century a (sometimes idealized) interest of Dutch artists in the craftmanship of Indonesian artisans grew. Some learned to make resists or tried to imitate it, in its Indonesian batik form.
While batik was applied to a large array of objects, the idea to make resists on vellum or parchment became a technique in which they developed a world of their own.
Also batiked wood forms a category in which European artists deviated from Asian models, which were more focused on textiles.

Batiked vellum was used for standalone objects (small screens and other household objects), but sometimes also produced in serial form, mainly as bookbindings.
While the use of natural dyestuffs would surely fit into the ideals (often influenced by English theoreticists like Morris and Ruskin) of these artists, it remains largely unknown which wax and colours they exactly used.

At first I will try to make a list of books that had trade editions in batiked vellum, later to be followed by a list of probaly unique presentation copies.
A lot of these books are described in the standard work on Dutch Art Nouveau bookbinding, by Ernst Braches (Nieuwe Kunst en het boek), but I hope this list will be able to bring together a combination of useful sources. I will make each in a separate message, searchable by the keywords batik and vellum.

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