The A.F.E.D.A. based in Madrid, Spain has a membership comprised of bibliophiles, bookbinders, collectors, booksellers, and students of the book arts. The following is an abstract from two issues of their full-color bulletin.
The opening article entitled "Spanish Bindings from the Lazaro Galdiano Foundation Library," by Juan Antonio Yeves, introduces Sr. Galdiano, who until his death in 1947, was a noted bibliophile and collector of books on books and fine bindings in Spain. Catalogues of exhibitions and auctionss, as well as periodicals addressing the subject of books comprise an important part of his collection.
Numerous examples of period bindings including mudejar, renaissance, and baroque, among others, are represented within this comprehensive collection of historical bindings. The article follows with a succinct summary of the history of Spanish bookbinding.
The article "Ex-Libris," by Lucia Sagredo Miller discusses book plates in both a historical and contemporary context. Methods of printing, their place and purpose in history, and the evolution of the Spanish ex-libris are the focus of this article.
The author describes the history of the ex-libris. For example, the oldest known ex-libris, from Germany ca. 1450, is contemporaneous with the advent of printing. Until the 19th century book plates were almost exclusively heraldic in design. Ms. Miller details several factors that were responsible for the decline in popularity of this motif. One was the emerging middle class demand for more open, newer designs. The advent of copper engraving which achieved finer detail and enhanced image quality further aided in the production of more innovative designs.
Maria Pan de Soraluce and Elena Vozmediano's "Interview with Galvan," discusses the fine bindings of Jose Galvan and his two sons Antonio and Jose. Their bindings have been included in collections throughout Spain and the world. Their shop, which opened its doors in 1944, is located in Cadiz, Spain in the province of Andalucia.
To Sr. Galvan, the work of a master binder is evidenced through the forwarding of the book block. He says, "The essential characteristic of all potential works of art is unity." He continues, "There is no operation, no matter how easy it appears to perform, that doesn't ultimately contribute to the enchantment (beauty) and value (importance) of the finished work." He talks of structure and workmanship, of sewing, spine treatment, the pressing of sections, etc., as essential components of a finished, masterful binding.
In the words of Galvan's son, Antonio, "Libro mal prensado, libro mal encuadernado." "A badly pressed book is a badly bound book." This precise aphorism is an notable reminder that all operations of bookmaking are important.
This issue opens with an interview, by Maria pan de Soraluce and Elena Vozmediano, of Santiago Brugalla, a noted binder from Barcelona, and son of the late Emilio Brugalla, one of Spain's most innovative binders of the 20th century.
Recounting his personal involvement with the history of the book and his study of classical design, Brugalla talks of his family's collection of hand tools. "With the experience and knowledge of historical styles that I have gained through the years, and having at my disposal more than 3,000 brass tools covering all periods of design,.. it is logical that I would not want to renounce the concept of classical design." Santiago talks at length of his designs for contemporary and modern works of poetry and philosophy as the point from which he departs from the classical and looks at the text for design inspiration.
The next article is "The Library of Don Bartolome March," by the Condessa de Orgaz.
According to this article, the library of March, "houses one of the most important collections of contemporary bookbindings in Spain." March, a bibliophile, took great care to ensure that his collection would hold the finest examples of Spanish binding from the second half of the 20th century. Emilio and Santiago Brugalla, Antolin Palomino, Manuel Bueno, and the Galvan Brothers of Cadiz are among those who were selected for inclusion in the collection. March, equally interested in bringing to his collection foreign masters, also included the work of Bonet, Legrain, and Leroux. Speaking from my own experience, this well-maintained collection is representative of some of the most outstanding examples of contemporary Spanish binding.
Finally there is a wonderful article entitled: "An Engraver's View of the Gilding Iron," by the engraver himself, Jaime Olivares Escoda. Escoda, engraver for many fine binders of Spain including Palomino and Brugalla, creates all forms of stamping and hand tooling instruments from fillets and arabesque brass tools, to magnesium plates. Born in 1933, he began his trade as a child studying by his father's side. He continues today with techniques taught to him in his father's shop in Madrid. The article gives an overview of the history, evolution and the technical construction of metal tools. Codice Boletin 3, August 93
A newsletter from a group called "Artisan Bookbinders from the Republic of Argentina", is published for the bookbinding community of Argentina. Activities of the group, such as visits to specific libraries, as well as brief reports on new restoration techniques and technical notes, are among the variety of topics covered in this eight-page newsletter.
It includes various notices on classes, services, equipment, events such as book fairs and exhibitions. The newsletter opens with an overview of the professional life and accomplishments of bookbinder Varinka Diaconu, a native of Bucharest Romania, living in Argentina since 1959.
Anyone interested in knowing more about the South American binding community would find this publication helpful. To contact the group directly, write: EARA- Encuadernadores Artensanales de la Republica Argentina, Caseros 470 3§ "F"., (1152) Buenos Aires, Argentina.