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Daniel Crouch Rare Books LLP
4 Bury Street
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Daniel Crouch
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Nick Trimming
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Opening hours
Monday–Friday 10.00–18.00
Saturday by appointment
Closed: all bank holidays,
9-26 March (for TEFAF, Maastricht) and the month of August


Please find following a glossary of terms used in the catalogue entries on our web site. Please let us know if there are any words that you think we ought to add.

The glossary is adapted from the following sources:

Carter, John
ABC for Book Collectors
Oak Knoll Press, 1995

Congalton, Tom and Gregory, Dan,
What bookdealers really mean. A dictionary by Tom Congalton and Dan Gregory

Franco, Edgar
Dictionary of Terms and Expressions Commonly Used in the Antiquarian Book Trade
n.p., I.L.A.B. 1994

International Fine Print Dealers Association
What is a Print

International League of Antiquarian Booksellers


a.e.gAll edges gilt, gilt applied to top edge, bottom edge and fore-edge of the volume.

French: tranches dorées
German: Goldschnitt


a.e.mAll edges marbled, marbling applied to top edge, bottom edge and fore-edge of volume.

French: tranches marbrées
German: Farbschnitt

Allegorical print

AllegoricalA print representing a universal truth by using imagery. Often using a classical theme.


ALSAutograph letter signed, letter handwritten by the person signing the letter as opposed to LS, which is a manuscript letter written by someone other than the signer.


AdvertisementsLeaves in a book, or text on a map advertising other works by the same publisher, often located at the back of the volume, following the text pages.

French: Publicité
German: Verlagsanzeigen

All published

AllThe book or set is complete as is, and any additional parts or volumes were never published.

French: Seuls publiés
German: Alles Erschienene
Swedish: Allt som utkommit


AnnotatedIncluding critical and explanatory notes

Danish: Forsynet med noter
Dutch: Geannoteerd
French: Annoté
German: Kommentierte Ausgabe
Italian: Annotato
Spanish: Anotado
Swedish: Med noter, med anmärkningar


AquatintAn intaglio engraving technique in which gradations of tone or shadow are produced rather than sharp lines; often this technique is used in conjunction with etching for images that can resemble watercolour washes. In this process the artist applies a granular, acid-resistant ground to the plate before submerging it in an acid bath that “bites” in and around the granules creating large areas of texture. The use of grounds with varying granule sizes produces different degrees of tone. Aquatints were frequently coloured by hand after printing.

French: Aquatinte
German: Aquatinta

Armorial bearing

ArmorialMore commonly called a “coat of arms”, is a design or image, normally depicted on a shield, for distinguishing persons of, and within, a family.

Danish: Våbenskjold
Dutch: Blazoen, wapenschild
French: Blason
German: Wappensupralibros
Italian: Blasone, stemma
Spanish: Blasón
Swedish: Vapensköld

Association copy

AssociationA book or pamphlet that has some indication of having belonged to the author or someone closely associated with them.

Swedish: Associationsexemplar

Beveled edges

BeveledWhen the edges of the boards are noticeably tapered.


BindingThe method of holding pages or sheets together; may be simply stapled or sewn, or sewn and enclosed in wrappers, but most often refers to a "hard" binding or covers. This type of binding may be covered with cloth, various leathers, or paper over boards or other more exotic materials. The following terms relate primarily to leather bindings:

Full binding: volume is entirely encased in leather (calf, sheep, morocco, etc.)

Three quarter binding: volume has leather spine and corners that occupy approx. 3/4 of the space along top edge of board (cover). The remainder of the board is covered with marbled paper, plain paper, cloth, different leather, etc.

Half binding: the spine and corner leather occupy only approximately 1/2 of top edge.

Quarter binding: usually lacks leather corners and leather of the spine occupies only approx. 1/4 of the top edge.


BlanksRefers to a blank page that is left intentionally in the book. It can be located at beginning of the book, at the end of a clearly marked division, and/or at the end of book. Also known as blank leaves or printer's blanks.

French: Feuillets blancs
German: Weißes Blatt
Swedish: Blankt blad

Blind stamp

BlindDecoration, picture, or lettering that has been impressed into the binding with a metal stamp prepared for the purpose, resulting in a "blind" (meaning uncoloured) decoration, picture or lettering.

Danish: Blindtryk
Dutch: Blindstempeling
French: Motifs à froid
German: Blindprägung
Italian: Impressioni a secco
Spanish: Dorado en frio
Swedish: Blind tryck


Boardsthe covers of a hard bound book; the boards are the stiff cardboard or paperboard that is usually covered with cloth or leather; and when covered with paper, the covers are properly referred to as "boards". Many pre-1850 books were issued by the publishers bound in boards (paper covered), allowing for an inexpensive binding that could later be replaced with leather by a hand book binder. Early (medieval) manuscript volumes were often bound between two oak boards, hence the probable origin of this term.

Book formats

Bookthe traditional terms in use for describing book formats are derived from early printing methodology and the size of early handmade sheets of paper. When two leaves (four pages when printed on both sides) were printed on a sheet so that it could be folded once, collated with other folded sheets and bound, the format of the volume was a "folio". When four leaves (eight pages) were printed on the same size sheet, which would later be folded twice, the format of the resultant volume was a "quarto" (four leaves). The term "octavo" relates to the sheet having eight leaves printed on it.


BookplateA simple or elaborately designed label used to indicate ownership, which is usually found pasted to the inside of the front cover of a book.


Bookwormany of a number of moth or fly larvae that tunnel through the pages of books leaving behind small channels, holes in individual leaves.


Broadsidea printing on a single sheet of paper and only on one side; the verso (other side) is blank. When printed on both sides, the sheet becomes a "broadsheet".

French: Voir Affiche
German: Flugschriften


Broadsheeta printing that occurs on both sides of a single leaf (see also broadside).

French: Affiche
German: Einblattdruck
Swedish: Ettbladstryc


Buckrama stiff, coarsely woven, filled cloth used for less expensive, but stronger wearing, cloth book binding material.


Calfbook binding leather from a calf hide or cattle hide; a commonly used material for leather binding (see also morocco, sheep, and vellum).

Danish: Kalveskind
Dutch: Kalfsleer
French: Veau
German: Kalbleder
Italian: Vitello
Spanish: Piel de becerro, becerrillo
Swedish: Kalvskinn

Cancel leaf

a new leaf, often the title page, to which changes have been made, which is glued onto the narrow stub left by the removed leaf which has been excised.


CartoucheA tablet, for inscription (e.g. the titling of maps) or ornament.

French: Cartouche
German: Kartusche


CaseThe covers enclosing a book, usually made of thick cardboard, or a specially made case for a book or map.

French: Emboîtage
German: Kassette

Catalogue raisonné

CatalogueA catalogue raisonné is a documentary listing of all the works by an artist that are known at the time of compilation.


Chemisea case or folding tray into which a book or map is laid, usually used in conjunction with a case into which the chemise is slipped (a slipcase).

Danish: Omslag
Dutch: Omslag, stofomslag
French: Chemise
German: Sammelmappe
Italian: Camicia
Spanish: Camisa
Swedish: Omslag


ChromolithographyColour printing from multiple impositions of lithographic stones or similar lithographic printing surfaces.

Danish: Farvelitografi
Dutch: Chromolithographie
French: Chromolithographie
German: Chromolithographie
Italian: Cromolitografia
Spanish: Cromo-litografía
Swedish: Färgliitografi


ClaspClasps, like bosses and corner-pieces, were part of the protective armour of medieval (and post-medieval) bindings. A clasp, either of metal with a hinge, or with an intervening strip of leather or textile, on one board snapped into a catch on the other. Its object was to keep the book closed, relieving any strain on the joints from casual movement. In England and France the clasp was on the upper board, the catch on the lower; elsewhere in Europe the positions were reversed.

Danish: Spænde
Dutch: Slot, klamp
French: Fermoirs
German: Schließe
Italian: Fermaglio
Spanish: Cierre
Swedish: Knäppe


ClothBookbinding material woven from cotton, linen, wool or synthetic fibres.


CockledRefers to the condition of a book or sheet of paper; the wrinkled, puckered, waving, or curling condition of a page or of the boards of a book, which is caused by non-uniform drying and shrinkage. If the cockled page is made of vellum, the condition is caused by humidity. In the case of paper or board, the condition is caused by heat and humidity. In the case of book covers, it can be caused by the use of the wrong type of adhesive or too much adhesive.


Collationused in descriptive bibliography as the term that describes the non-binding portion of the book, verifying the proper sequence and completeness of pages & their gatherings (signatures).


Colophona statement occurring at the rear of a volume following the text, relating information about the printing history and physical aspects of the book; often includes name of printer, type of paper, typeface, size of edition, date of printing, etc. Early books often had a colophon instead of a title page imprint and modern private press or other examples of fine printing often use a colophon.


CompartmentsRuled lines forming a square border or frame on a binding, which is done in gilt or blind.

Danish: Firkant, linje-indramninger i kvadrater eller rektangler
Dutch: Verdeling in vierkanten of rechthoeken door lijnen
French: Compartiments ou caissons
German: Fileten
Italian: Riquadri
Spanish: Cuadrados
Swedish: Fyrkanter

Conjugate leaves

Conjugateleaves that are physically attached, part of the same sheet.


CounterproofCounterproofs: In printmaking, impressions taken from a print or drawing by passing it through a press against a damp sheet of paper. The image appears in reverse.


Coversthe binding of a book; i.e. cloth, calf, morocco, boards, wrappers, etc.


CroppedThe margins of the map or book have been trimmed, usually too close to, or into, the text or image.

Cut edges

Cutthe most common type of book edges, trimmed even with a large binders knife prior to finishing the binding process (see also uncut, unopened, and deckle edges).

Damp stain

Dampstain resulting from water or other liquid damage to a volume.

Deckle edge

Decklenatural or sometimes artificial rough edge of page, left uncut.


DentelleA binder's term (from the French lace) meaning a border with a lacy pattern on the inner edge, usually gilt.

Danish: Kniplingsmønster
Dutch: Verguld randwerk, dentelle
French: Dentelle
German: Dentelle
Italian: Merletto
Spanish: Decorado en forma de encaje
Swedish: Dentelle


Dis-boundDescriptive term for a book or pamphlet which has been removed from its binding.

Danish: Uden bind
Dutch: Zonder band, band ontbreekt
French: Dérelié
German: Einband fehlt, ohne Einband, ausgebunden
Italian: Slegato, privo di legatura
Spanish: Sin la tapas, desencuadernado
Swedish: Uttaget ur band


DoublureA binder's term, meaning that the paste-down (or inside lining of the covers) is not of paper but of leather, usually decorated.

Danish: Doublure, opklæbede forsats
Dutch: Doublure, binnenspiegel
French: Doublure
German: Doublure
Italian: Contropiatto
Spanish: Contratapa
Swedish: Foder, pärmfoder


DrypointA form of engraving in which the artist incises the surface of the plate with a sharp needle or stylus. This intaglio technique gives the artist the greatest freedom of line, from the most delicate hairline to the heaviest gash. As the artist scores the plate to create the image, ridges of shavings called burr are pushed up to the surface and sit alongside the lines. Because the burr is not cleaned from the plate, as in a copper engraving, it is able to hold ink, yielding lines that are characteristically soft and velvety. Drypoint plates (particularly the burr on them) wear more quickly than etched or engraved plates and therefore show far greater differences from the first impression to the last. Consequently, drypoint editions have fewer impressions.

Dust wrapper

Dustthe paper, often with illustrations and information about the book, used as a protective covering over the book; sometimes called a dust jacket.

Danish: Beskyttelsesomslag
Dutch: Boekomslag, stofomslag
French: Jaquette
German: Schutzumschlag
Italian: Sovracoperta
Spanish: Sobrecubierta
Swedish: Skyddsomslag

Editio Princeps

EditioLatin for first edition. The first printed edition of a work that was in circulation in manuscript before printing was invented.


EditionAn edition includes all the impressions published at the same time or as part of the same publishing event. A first edition is one that was issued with the first published group of impressions. First edition prints and maps are sometimes pre-dated by a proof edition. Editions of a map or print should be distinguished from states of a map or print. There can be several states of from the same edition, and there can be several editions all with the same state.

A limited edition print is one in which a limit is placed on the number of impressions pulled in order to create a scarcity of the print. Limited editions are usually numbered and are often signed. Limited editions are a relatively recent development, dating from the late nineteenth century. Earlier prints were limited in the number of their impressions solely by market demand or by the maximum number that could be printed by the medium used. The inherent physical limitations of the print media and the relatively small size of the pre-twentieth century print market meant that non-limited edition prints from before the late nineteenth century were in fact quite limited in number even though not intentionally so. German printmaker Adam von Bartsch, in his 1821 Anleitung zur Kupferstichkunde, estimated the maximum number of quality impressions it was possible to pull using different print media as follows:

500 (and about the same number of weaker images)

500 (and about the same number of weaker images)

300 to 400, though the quality suffers after the first 150

Fewer than 200

Wood block:
Up to 10,000

It was only with the development of lithography and of steel facing of metal plates in the nineteenth century that tens of thousands of impressions could be pulled without a loss of quality. These technological developments led to the idea of making limited edition prints, by which printmakers created an appearance of rarity and individuality for multiple-impression art.


EngravingAn intaglio technique characterized by clean tapered lines made by incising a metal plate (traditionally copper) with a sharp tool called a burin. A range of line widths is possible depending on the size of tools used, making delicate tonalities also possible. The incised lines hold the ink when the image is pressed. Engraving is the technique most commonly seen in Old Master prints. Also sometimes used to refer to an illustration in a book made using the process.


Endpaperpaper, often of coated or marbled stock, with one half pasted to the cover; used primarily to give a finished appearance to the binding.

Danish: Begyndelsesark
Dutch: Blad van het voorwerk
French: Gardes
German: Vorsatz
Italian: Foglio preliminare
Spanish: Hoja preliminar
Swedish: Eftersättsblad


EphemeraTransitory single sheet printed matter not intended to be retained or preserved. The word derives from the Greek, meaning things lasting no more than a day.

French: Vieux Papiers


ErrataA list of errors and misprints in the text of a book. The list might be printed on a bound page in the book or on a separate piece of paper that is pasted or laid in the book.


EtchingAn intaglio technique with a visual result similar to drawing, etched lines are usually free with blunt terminations as a result of the artist drawing with a sharp tool through a soft, often wax-based, ground coated on the plate. Volume and contour is created using a technique called hatching, where the artist changes the spaces, angles, lengths and qualities of the lines. The plate is then placed into an acid bath, where the acid eats away, or “bites,” the exposed metal of the incised lines leaving the areas that are coated with ground untouched. The artist can achieve a broad range of tonality with etching by controlling the time the plate spends in the acid-bath


Ex-librisa Latin phrase meaning "from the books" or to paraphrase, "from the library or collection of"; the phrase is frequently used on bookplates.


Extra-illustratedUsually a volume made into a unique copy with additional illustrations, autographs, or manuscripts added by carefully gluing or tipping-in this extra material.


FacsimileA copy that looks like the original printing of a book, map or print but is not original. The term can also refer to one or more sheets of paper, or parts of sheets, that have been reproduced or copied to replace parts of the item that are missing.
French: Fac-simile
German: Faksimile
Swedish: Faksimilupplaga


FilletThe fillet is a binder's tool: a revolving wheel with one or more raised strips on its circumference for impressing a line or parallel lines on the leather or other binding material. In the description of books the term is commonly used to mean the line or lines produced by the tool. It is seldom if ever used except of leather binding.

French: Filet
German: Filete

First Edition

FirstAll of the copies printed from the first setting of type; can include multiple printings if all are from the same setting of type. Every printed book has a first edition, many never have later editions. A later edition would have substantial changes in the printing plates or type such as the addition of a new preface or new chapter or major changes throughout the text and often is printed from a complete resetting of the type. When book collectors use the term first edition, they are usually referring to the first printing and if there are different states or issues, the earliest of those.

Some related terms:

Issue: a portion of an edition printed or published deliberately by the printer or publisher in a distinct form differing from the rest of the printing relative to paper, binding, format, etc. The distinction between "issue" and "state" is that the former relates to changes done on purpose by the publisher and intentionally treated as a separate unit, i.e. a large paper issue.

State: a portion of a printing with changes such as minor alterations to the text either intentional or accidental; insertion of cancels, advertisements, or insertions; copies on different paper without intention of creating a separate issue; and other changes other than folding or collating or binding.

Variants: usually refers to differences in bindings or end papers within an issue or printing. One variant may have a title stamped on the front cover in black and another may be stamped in red.


FleuronA printer’s typographical ornament, originally flower-shaped, cast as a single piece, but often designed to be used in multiple units.

Danish: Blomsterornament
Dutch: Bloemornament
French: Fleuron
German: Fleuron
Italian: Decorazione floreale, fiorone
Spanish: Florón
Swedish: Vinjett, liten dekoration


Flyleafa blank leaf (or leaves) inserted during the binding process between the free end paper and the beginning or end of the printed pages.

Folding plate

FoldingPlate, map, or chart that is too big to fit into a book, so it has been carefully folded to fit neatly into the book.

French: Planches dépliantes
German: Falttafel

Fore-edge painting

Fore-edgeA painting on gilded fore edge, which can only be seen by fanning pages. Popular in the fifteenth and sixteenth centuries.

French: Peinture sur tranches
German: Fore-edge-painting
Swedish: Fore edge painting


FoxingRust coloured spots which occur on paper resulting from oxidation of both organic and iron impurities left behind during the paper making process. Only when these impurities exist in the paper, given exposure to the right humidity and temperature factors, will foxing occur. This process is intrinsic to the paper; some paper will never have the rusty, brown, yellow spots known as foxing.

Danish: Fugtpletter
Dutch: Roestvlekken, weervlekken
French: Rousseurs
German: Stockflecken
Italian: Arrossature, rifioriture
Spanish: Puntos de oxido
Swedish: Lagerfläckad, brunfläckad, "foxed"


Foliosee “Book formats”.


Frontispiecean illustration or plate inserted immediately in front of the title page, with the illustration facing the title page.

Gathering: a folded printed sheet of leaves prior to binding; referred to as a signature after binding.

Danish: Ark
Dutch: Katern
French: Cahier
German: Lage
Italian: Quaderno, fascicolo
Spanish: Cuaderno
Swedish: Lägg

Gauffered edges

GaufferedA pattern tooled on gilt edges of book.

French: Tranches ciselées
German: ziselierter Schnitt


GiltGold decoration or lettering applied to a binding or page edge. Gilding the top edge was desired not only because it looks attractive, but also because it makes the books easier to dust off.

Danish: Forgyldt
Dutch: Verguld
French: Doré
German: Vergoldet
Italian: Dorato
Spanish: Dorado
Swedish: Guldornament


Gutterthe inner margin of the leaves of a bound book; adjacent inner margins of facing pages when book is open.

French: Marges intérieures

Half title

Halfa page that precedes the title page and the text, with the title (often abbreviated) usually centred on the page.

Danish: Smudstitel
Dutch: Franse titel, voortitel
French: Faux-titre
German: Schmutztitel
Italian: Occhiello, occhietto
Spanish: Anteportada
Swedish: Smutstitel


HeadbandBand of silk or cotton affixed to signatures when bound for strength or, more often, decoration of the spine.

French: Headband
German: Kapitalband


Hingethe inside portion of the flexible area where book cover meets the book spine; often used interchangeably with the term joint, which should be used to designate the outside or exterior portion of the "hinge". A volume that has received heavy or rough use often has cracked or broken hinges.

Danish: Fals (på bogbind)
Dutch: Scharnier (-versterking)
French: Charnière
German: Gelenk (innen)
Italian: Cerniera
Spanish: Charnela, bisagra
Swedish: Fals (på bokpärm)


HolographAnything handwritten entirely by the writer; i.e. a letter written entirely in the handwriting of the correspondent is a holograph of that person.


IlluminatedA manuscript or book embellished with decorative elements that are typically hand-painted in rich colours and are sometimes gilded. The elements may include initial letters, designs, and/or pictorial scenes.

French: Enluminure
German: Illuminiert


ImpressionThe quality of the ink on a map or print or all the copies of a book printed during one press run. During the handpress period, when type was reset each time a press was used, this term was synonymous with edition.

French: Tirage


ImprintWhen used as a noun refers to the publication data located at the base of a title page, usually includes the city of publication, name of the publisher (sometimes the printer), and the year of publication. Sometimes this information is located in a colophon at the back of a book. Imprint can also be used to refer to a printed piece from a certain location or period of time.


IncunableAnything printed during the fifteenth century, the first century of printing with "moveable type"; from the Latin, meaning "from the cradle"; can also be used in a relative sense to refer to other early printings, i.e. Incunable lithograph.


InscribedA book, or other printed piece, with a handwritten and signed statement usually written for a specific named person(s) and often located on the end paper or title page; when "inscribed" is used to describe a book, unless otherwise stated, it is implied that the author has written the inscription. When used to designate the recipients of a book as a gift from the author (or publisher), it is called a "presentation inscription".

Intaglio Printing

IntaglioThe term intaglio comes from the Italian word intagliare, meaning “to incise.” In this technique, acid or a pointed tool is used to incise the composition into a metal plate, usually made of copper, but sometimes of steel, iron or zinc. After the image has been drawn, the plate is covered with ink, and then wiped so that only the incised areas contain ink. The pressure of the press forces the paper into the incisions where they pick up the ink, resulting in the raised character of the lines on the impression. Because often the sheet of paper is larger than the plate, an indentation of the plate edges, or platemark, appears around the edges of the image area. Before steel facing, a plate, especially one containing drypoint lines, would degrade over time as the pressure of the press would dull the burr. As a result, the first impression was often crisper than the last. The different types of intaglio prints are distinguished by the technique used: etching, aquatint, and photogravure are made using acid to corrode the metal plate, while engraving, drypoint, and mezzotint are made using a sharp tool to incise, or scratch, the surface of the plate. Often several different intaglio techniques are used in the same print to achieve variations in contrast and tone.


IssueA portion of an edition printed or published deliberately by the printer or publisher in a distinct form differing from the rest of the printing relative to paper, binding, format, etc. The distinction between "issue" and "state" is that the former relates to changes done on purpose by the publisher and intentionally treated as a separate unit, i.e. a large paper issue.


Jointthe exterior flexible "hinge" where book cover meets book spine; "hinge" is usually used to designate the equivalent inside or interior flexible area. The joint is often an area that splits or cracks or otherwise shows wear in an older cloth or leather volume.

French: Charnière
German: Gelenk (außen)

Large paper copy

LargeA special edition printed with the pages reconfigured to result in larger leaves with very wide page margins; the text of the individual pages remaining the same as the normal edition; usually large paper copies are printed in small, limited editions.

French: Grands papier
German: Großpapier

Leaf (leaves)

Leafrefers to the smallest, standard physical unit of paper in a printed piece; in the case of books and pamphlets, usually with a printed page on each side of a leaf; a broadside is printed on a single side of a single leaf.


LithographyLiterally meaning “stone drawing”, is one of a class of printing processes termed planographic, in which the printing surface (stone, zinc or a similar smooth-surfaced material) is not incised but instead treated with a medium that selectively absorbs (or repels) printing ink.

French: Lithographie
German: Lithographie
Swedish: Litografi

Marbled edges

MarbledThe top, bottom and fore-edge of a book with a multi-coloured, swirled design, somewhat resembling the colouration pattern of marble stone.

Marbled paper

MarbledPaper decorated with a multi-coloured, swirled design or pattern; often used for end papers or for paper covered boards, especially with 3/4 or 1/2 leather bindings.

Danish: Marmoreret
Dutch: Gemarmerd
French: Papier marbré
German: Marmorieren
Italian: Marmorizzata
Spanish: Jaspeado
Swedish: Marmorera


MatrixFrom the Latin word “mater”, meaning mother, the matrix is the surface on which the artist creates an image prior to printing; for example, a woodblock, a linoleum block, a metal plate, a lithographic stone, or a mesh screen.


MezzotintA form of print best known for its rich and luscious black tones and soft, subtle areas of light. The resulting image appears hazy and atmospheric, almost like a photograph. Unlike the other intaglio processes, this technique is worked from dark to light; the entire surface of the plate is abraded using a spiked tool called a rocker. These grooves will hold the printing ink and if inked at this point in the process, the plate would print entirely black. To create variations in tone, the artist scrapes and burnishes the abraded plate to smooth out the surface so that those areas will hold less ink and thus yield lighter tones in the image.


MiniatureTo miniate (from minium, meaning red lead) meant originally to colour or paint with vermilion, to rubricate or illuminate. But miniatures have come to denote the painted scenes, anecdotes, groups of figures or the like, distinct from conventional decoration and by implication more ambitious than historiated, with which the professional artists of the monastic scriptoria or secular ateliers decorated medieval and renaissance manuscripts (and occasionally some special copy of an early printed book). Such pictures would often be full-page; and since the page would not necessarily be of small size, the term miniature, subject as it is to pseudo-etymological confusion, is not a very happy one, but John Evelyn was using it in 1645 and it is no doubt too late to change it.

Danish: Illuminering, kolorering
Dutch: Illuminatie, verluchting
French: Enluminure
German: Miniatur
Italian: Miniatura
Spanish: Illuminado, miniado
Swedish: Färgläggning, illuminering


MoroccoLeather binding made from goat hides; usually used in high quality or fine bindings for the interesting texture of the leather; originally tanned with sumac in the country of Morocco.

Danish: Maroquin
Dutch: Marokijn
French: Maroquin
German: Maroquin
Italian: Marocchino
Spanish: Marroquì, tafilete
Swedish: Marokäng


MountedAn map, print or other illustration that has been mounted, or tipped, onto a sheet of card for its own protection or to enhance its appearance on display. Also sometimes used for damaged leaves, illustrations, maps, and/or photographs that have been strengthened by backing with paper or thin cloth.

German: Montieren


This abbreviation means "no date" provided in the imprint.


"No place" of publication provided in the imprint.


Octavosee "Book formats".


OffsetThe accidental transfer of ink from a printed page, or illustration, to an adjacent page. This may be caused either from the sheets having been folded, or the book bound, before the ink was properly dry, or from the book being subsequently exposed to damp. Offset from engraved or other plates on to text, and from text on to plates, is commoner, and also much more disfiguring, than offset from text on to text." (John Carter)?

Danish: Offset
Dutch: Offset
French: Offset
German: Abklatsch
Italian: Offset
Spanish: Offset
Swedish: Offset

Offset lithographs

OffsetLithographs printed by transferring an image from a stone or plate to an intermediate surface and then to the print paper.

Original boards

OriginalIn the original binding from the book's publisher, as opposed to in contemporary binding (from the same time period but not from the publisher) or rebound.

French: Original boards
German: Originaleinband
Swedish: Originalband

Pastedown endpapers

PastedownThe part of the endpapers that is pasted to the inside of the front and rear covers.

French: Contreplat
German: Innenspiegel


PhotogravurePhotogravure is often characterized by photographic images that have moody, velvet-like black areas and a broad range of tone. Combining photography processes with traditional etching techniques, it allows the artist to print these photographic images on untreated printmaking papers.


PigskinWhen tanned in the ordinary way, pigskin as a leather for binding, is intractable and, though very tough, liable to get brittle for lack of grease. When tawed with alum, it is much more tractable and very durable. It doesn't lend itself to decoration, except in blind.

Danish: Svinesking
Dutch: Varkensleer
French: Peau de truie
German: Schweinsleder
Italian: Pelle di troia, di scrofa
Spanish: Piel de cerdo
Swedish: Svinläder

Portolan charts

PortolanNavigational maps based on realistic descriptions of harbours and coasts. They were first made in the fourteenth century in Italy, Portugal and Spain. With the advent of the Age of Discovery, they were considered state secrets in Portugal and Spain, very valuable in the description of Atlantic and Indian coastlines for newcomer English and Dutch raiding, and later trading, ships. The word portolan comes from the Italian adjective portolano, meaning "related to ports or harbours."


PlanoA format of binding where full sheets of paper are gathered and bound unfolded, usually on their short (landscape) side.


PlateAn illustration printed on a separate sheet of paper (usually heavy and better quality than the text pages) and added to the book during the binding process.


PochoirThis technique was developed in France in the early twentieth century. Translated “stencil,” this process allows the artist to directly add hand-coloured areas to an impression by painting these areas through a stencil. The stencil itself is usually knife-cut from thin-coated paper, paperboard, plastic, or metal and the ink or paint is applied with a brush. This technique is sometimes combined with other planographic methods, such as lithography.


Printingthe copies of a book or other printed material that originates from the same press run or from the same plates or setting of type at one time. In the example given for "Edition", the 500 copies would be the first printing and the 300 copies comprise the second printing.


ProofThis term generally refers to any impression pulled before the official printed edition of an image or book. The artist or printer may make changes to the image after examining a proof, much like an author makes changes to a rough draft of a manuscript before sending it to the publisher. Once the image is the way the artist wants it to be, it will be the model for the finished edition.


Prospectusprinted material, often in the form of a leaflet or broadside, which describes a forth-coming title in detail, often including information on ordering the book including pre-publication price.


ProvenanceEvidence of the history of the ownership of a particular item (e.g.: auctions records, booksellers' records, book plates, etc.) The item may be important because of who owned it; perhaps a president or important bookseller, collector, royalty, or someone who may be related to the book in some way.

Danish: Berømt proveniens
Dutch: (Beroemde) herkomst
French: Provenance
German: Provenienz
Italian: Provenienza
Spanish: Procedencia illustre
Swedish: Proveniensexemplar


Quartosee "Book formats".


QuireWhen used by binders or bibliographers, this is synonymous with a gathering or section. To a paper-maker it means one-twentieth of a ream of paper.

German: Rohbogen


Re-backedthe spine of a book has been replaced with new material, in some cases the original worn spine is saved and glued over the new material.

Danish: Ny ryg
Dutch: Rug vernieuwd
French: Dos refait
German: Rebacked
Italian: Dorso rifatto
Spanish: Lomo nuevo
Swedish: Renoverad rygg


Re-boundcopy of a book that has had the original binding removed and a new binding attached; when there is no need to re-sew or trim the book, the term "re-cased" is sometimes used to indicate that a new binding and new end papers have been added.


Rectothe front side of a leaf or in the case of an open book the page on the right, with the page on the left being the verso.


RemarqueA remarque is a small vignette image in the margin of a print, often related thematically to the main image. Originally remarques were scribbled sketches made in the margins of etchings so that the artist could test the plate, his needles, or the strength of the etching acid prior to working on the main image. These remarques were usually removed prior to the first publication of the print.


RemboitageRe-bound, but using an old binding from another (usually older) book.


Re-strikeRe-strikes are later impressions that have not been authorized by the artist.


RubricatedA rubric is a heading to a chapter or section written or printed in red.

French: Rubriqué (exemplaire rubriqué)
German: Rubrizieren



Danish: Chagrin
Dutch: Geitenleer
French: Chagrin
German: Chagrin
Italian: Zigrino
Spanish: Chagrin
Swedish: Chagrin


Shakenindicates that sections (signatures) of a book or pamphlet are becoming quite loose, but remain attached to the binding.


Sheepa common leather binding material from sheep hides; used like calf for a less expensive binding than morocco, appears to have been frequently used for textbooks and law books in the nineteenth century.


SignatureThe letters printed in the tail margin of the first leaf (at least) of each gathering or section of a book, as a guide to the binder in assembling them correctly. Signatures normally run from A to Z, omitting, by convention, J and U, which in earlier days were capitalised as I and V, and also W. If the whole alphabet has been run through, they usually proceed to AA, BB, or Aa, Bb, etc. These are commonly indicated in bibliographical descriptions as 2A, 2B, 3A, 3B, etc. When, as an alternative, a single-letter alphabet is simply repeated, it is convenient to indicate the subsequent alphabets as 2A, 3A, 2B, 3B, etc.

Dutch: Signatuur
French: Signature
German: Signatur
Italian: Segnatura
Spanish: Signatura
Swedish: Signerat exemplar


Signedrefers to a printed item on which the author (or illustrator or publisher) has written their name, usually on the end papers, title page, or in the case of pamphlets on the wrappers.


Slipcasea box with one open side, into which a volume or a multivolume set is "slipped" for protection; publishers often issue a slipcase with two and three volume sets.

Danish: Kasette
Dutch: Schuifdoos, huls
French: Emboîtage
German: Schuber
Italian: Custodia, astuccio
Spanish: Tapas y lomo de una encuadernación
Swedish: Kassett

Solander case

Solandera box in which a book is stored for protection that has one end (often leather) that resembles the spine or back strip of a book.


Spinethe back portion of a book's binding which is visible when a book is shelved in a bookcase; the portion that is attached at the joints to the front and rear covers.


Statea portion of a composition with changes such as minor alterations to the text or image, either intentional or accidental; insertion of cancels, advertisements, or insertions; copies on different paper without intention of creating a separate issue; and other changes other than folding or collating or binding.

Steel engraving

SteelIllustration printed from a steel plate.

Danish: Stålstik
Dutch: Staalgravure
French: Gravure sur acier
German: Stahlstich
Italian: Incisione su accciaio
Spanish: Grabado en acero
Swedish: Stålstick

Stipple engraving

StippleA combination of both of the arts of etching and engraving. The design to be engraved is outlined by a needle on a grained plate. This plate is then etched and dried. Next, a graver is used to make small dots ("stippling"). These small dots give the effect of light and shade.


SubscriptionExpensive books, privately printed books, special copies (e.g. on large paper or with proof plates), or even the whole edition would sometimes be issued on subscription. Subscribers who responded to the preliminary proposal might be asked to pay part of the price in advance, perhaps against a smaller total than that ruling after publication day. And in many cases their names would be printed, in a list of subscribers; hence, such catalogue notes as ?complete with the list of subscribers?, or ?fine copy, but lacks the subscribers?.

French: Souscription
German: Subskription
Swedish: Subskription


t.e.gtop edge gilt.


Tipped-inAttached to, but not integral to, the binding of the book. Usually to indicate something that has been added.

French: Tipped-in
German: Beigabe

Title page

TitleThe page where the full title, author, and other information appears, usually including the publisher, place of publication, and date

Danish: Titelblad
Dutch: Titelblad, titelpagina
French: Titre
German: Titelblatt
Italian: Frontespizio
Spanish: Página de la portada
Swedish: Titelblad


ToolingThe decoration of leather bindings.

French: Dorures


TLStyped letter signed, as opposed to ALS, a handwritten letter signed by the writer.


UnboundAn item that has never been bound, i.e. unbound sheets; not the same as dis-bound which indicates that the binding has been removed.


UncutEdges of a book in an untrimmed state.


UnsophisticatedUsually used to mean a book that hasn’t been restored or completed using components of other examples of the work.


Vellumtrue vellum is a thin specially treated untanned "leather" from calf skin, also known as parchment (high quality parchment from calf skin is called vellum; general quality parchment is made from calf, goat or sheep skin); used for documents and for book bindings; many early books have vellum bindings.

French: Vélin
Italian: Pergamena
Spanish: Pergamino


Versothe reverse or opposite or left-hand side, especially used in reference to a leaf which has a recto and verso side; in a open book the recto is the right hand page and the verso is the left hand page; in the case of a broadside only the recto is printed and the verso is blank.


VignetteA small ornamental or decorative design, used on a title page or as a head- or tailpiece to a chapter or division of a book. Also, any illustration not enclosed in a border or squared off at the edges but shading away.

Danish: Vignet
Dutch: Vignet
French: Vignette
German: Vignette
Italian: Vignetta
Spanish: Viñeta
Swedish: Vignett, även vinjett


WatermarkAn image, logo, or symbol embedded in a sheet of paper that identifies the mill at which the paper was made as well as the paper type/style, and in some cases, a date. The mill’s logo is woven with wire into the mesh of the paper mould and as a result less pulp collects on top and around the image making that area of the page thinner. Watermarks, which are typically located in the lower right corner of a sheet of paper, are often only visible when the sheet of paper is held in front of a light.

Wood engraving

WoodThe appearance and line quality of a wood engraving is similar to that of a copperplate engraving. The lines are rigid, noticeably tapered at the ends, and vary in thickness and length to create tone and texture. Wood and copper differ insofar as a copper engraving is printed using an intaglio technique where the incised lines receive ink, and print on paper as black. Wood engravings are printed in relief; the ink is rolled onto the surface, so the incised lines remain white.

Danish: Træsnit
Dutch: Houtsnede
French: Gravure sur bois
German: Holzstich
Italian: Incisione in legno, xilografia
Spanish: Grabado en madera
Swedish: Træsnitt


WoodcutIllustrations produced when the original printing plate was engraved on a block of wood. One of the oldest methods of printing, dating back to eigth century China.

French: Gravure sur bois
German: Holzschnitt
Swedish: Träsnitt


WrappersThe paper covers of a pamphlet, often of a paper of heavier weight than the text paper; when you see "wrappers" you know the item is not a hard bound book, but is instead a pamphlet or magazine with paper covers.

French: Couverture, jaquette


YappA style of binding where the edges of the covers overlap the exposed edges of the paper . It is named after a London bookseller who invented it around 1860, and is mostly used for books of devotion and verse.


ZincographA type of print made by drawing or painting onto the surface of a zinc plate in much the same manner as used in “lithography”.

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