Frank Mowery

Washington, DC

Rosemary Low, illustrated by Elizabeth Butterworth, Amazon Parrots, 1983

Bound in alum tawed pig skin with bas-relief panels framed within the boards, one on the front cover and one on the back. The panels are portraits of parrots in the volume, enlarged, and created out of molded board covered in layers of multicolored leather feathers, shaped and textured. The eyes and beaks are painted vellum. The spine was tooled blind and then painted with variegated acrylic colors. The edges of the textblock were painted with colored pencils shifting color around the perimeter. The headbands were embroidered with variegated silk thread. 44 x 36 x 10 centimeters. Created 1984. Lent by the New York Public Library.

The son of two librarians, Frank Mowery got his first taste of bookbinding working for his father at the library of Wittenberg University in Springfield, Ohio, dusting books and mending them with pressure sensitive tape and self adhesive book cloth. He went to study bookbinding at the Staatliche Hochschule für bildende Künste in Hamburg, Germany under the guidance of Professor Kurt Londenberg. He worked as a student in the conservation department of the University Library in Hamburg and after his training at the Art School went to the Acadamie of Art in Vienna, Austria to train as a paper conservator, under Otto Wächter. He spent six months working as a book conservator in Florence, Italy at the Biblioteca Nazionale, before returning to the USA. His first job was at the Huntington Library in California. Then in August of 1977, he became the Head of Conservation at the Folger Shakespeare Library in Washington D.C., a position he still holds. His fine bindings have been on display in exhibitions around the world. He was President of the Guild of Book Workers for nearly ten years.