Beautiful hand-bound books from the former Soviet Union

Traditional bookbinding is slowly becoming a lost art.

I was in one of the libraries in the Swedish Riksdag the other day and noticed that the binding of the publications (motions, bills, committee reports) from different eras was very different. Books from the 1950s were beautifully bound in leather with extravagant gold tooling, silk headbands, and stitched signatures. Those from the 1990s were stitched and bound in plain fabric, sans headbands. The ones from last year are glued rather than stitched, and have plain textile binding. I have also seen some of the gorgeous handwritten and beautifully-bound volumes from the 1700s and they are works of art.

I love beautiful hand-bound leather notebooks. You can find stunning vintage ones from the former USSR, particularly from the Baltic countries. These two are vintage leather bound notebooks from Estonia. I like stitched binding because I think it is more robust. Glued pages tend to loosen and fall out if you use the pages a lot.

The larger one with the geometric pattern must have been a reject of some kind as it has some rogue stamping on it, which I find rather cute!

Author: Janet Carr

Fashion, beauty and animal loving language consultant from South Africa living in Stockholm, Sweden.

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