Got back on the bench for the first time in a long while. This tape residue on a beautiful handtooled binding just demanded to be picked at…
On further inspection, I saw that it had a binder’s signature: “Bound by Ramage”. John Ramage was a British born binder who worked in France after his apprenticeship ended in 1856. We have 2 of his other bindings in our special collections at Arizona State University Library, which correctly attribute Ramage as the binder in their bib records, unlike this book, which had no such note. So this was a previously undiscovered binding by Ramage, albeit a simpler and more reserved one than the others in our collection.
And in true library fashion, some 20-30 years ago it was covered with brown Demco book tape, presumably to reattach the loose front board and spine. Fortunately, I’ve found this type of tape to be fairly easy to remove – the adhesive tends to desiccate, and depending on the covering material of the binding, it can be mechanically removed with no need for additional solvent- or heat-assisted removal methods.
Here’s another example of Ramage’s work, which is similar to the ones in the ASU Library’s special collections.