An 1884 Modernist Binding by MACDONALD & Sons

Signed Leather Binding on Lucile by Owen Meredith (Robert Bulwer-Lytton) Illustrated. Boston,James R Osgood and Company, 1884

The designer used a mosaic of die cut leather shapes of different colors. It is finished with simple fillet lines gold tooled to accentuate the three distinct rectangles forming the design.

The roll used by this bindery for most of the turn-ins in their fine leather work is the one pictured here, a procession of lopsided stars and dots. The “dents de rats” roll an addition, partly tooled on the marbled end paper.

MACDONALD Bindery did several die-cut bindings with different designs, another one on Lucille, a smaller size.

The covers are broken at the hinge and the book was posed as best for the photo.

A bit of search online reveals that William MACDONALD was granted a patent for a new headband design. I suspect part of the reason they stamped the “BINDING PATENT APPL’d FOR” was to scare imitators and competition from stealing their cover design, as I doubt they could have patented the design on the cover. The disclaimer is vague enough for anyone to believe the patent was for the binding itself, as it says, instead of the clever headbands.