Are you ready for fore edge Friday


This example for Fore Edge Friday comes from the second edition of The Canterbury Tales of Chaucer to Which are Added an Essay on His Language and Versification, and an Introductory Discourse, Together with Notes and a Glossary by English classical scholar Thomas Tyrwhitt, published for Oxford University by the Clarendon Press in 1798. The edges on all three sides and on the endpapers have been marbled in what is called a Double Comb or Double Nonpareil pattern.

According to the University of Washington’s site on Patterned Papers, the pattern begins with a Nonpareil base which is created by dropping colors sequentially onto the bath using an implement to regulate the drop sizes. A comb with one set of teeth set at intervals of 15-30mm is drawn through the bath horizontally, once in either direction with the second pass halving the first. Then another comb with teeth set at 2-3 mm is drawn once across the bath in the opposite direction. Once this Nonpareil pattern is established, a final comb with one set of teeth set in wider intervals than was used in the Nonpareil is drawn once more through the bath. This last step causes the numerous, arched lines to be broken into separate, arched columns. When marbling the edges of a book, the text block is clamped tightly shut, and once dipped, the excess fluid is blown or shaken off quickly to prevent it from running into the book. Once dry, the marbled edges are burnished.

Thomas Tyrwhitt‘s first edition of The Canterbury Tales appeared in a 4-volume set in 1775, with a 5-volume glossary published in 1778, both published in London by Thomas Payne and Son. This second edition was published posthumously, as Tyrwhitt died in 1786. Tyrwhitt’s edition is particularly noted for establishing an authoritative text without editorial emendation based on the most reliable source material. It was considered a landmark in Chaucer editorial practice, but falls short by today’s standards only in that his text brings together a smattering of different dialects from different dates and localities rather than the dialect of Chaucer in fourteenth century London.


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1 Response to Are you ready for fore edge Friday

  1. margaret21 says:

    Thanks for the explanation – not an easy craft, but lovely results.

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