The Century of van Eyck. Coloured frontispiece, numerous tipped-in coloured plates. Lausanne: Editions d’Art Albert Skira, 1957. Folio. pp. 185. Bound by Bernard Kiernan in full green morocco over bevelled boards. Covers ruled in gilt with geometrical design of rays. Spine divided into six compartments by five raised bands, title and author in gilt direct in the second, gilt rays in the fourth and fifth; wide doubloures ruled in gilt; Cockerell green comb-marbled endpapers; dark and light green thick endbands. Signed ‘Kiernan 1965’ on turn-in of lower board. Top edge gilt. Light surface damage to covers. Preserved in fleece-lined morocco-backed cloth chemise and cloth slip-case. A rare example of Kiernan’s fine binding.Few are aware of master bookbinder Bernard Kiernan (1922-1967). Bernard Henry Kiernan took up bookbinding as a hobby in 1954 at age thirty-two. He was largely self-taught and became a member of the Guild of Contemporary Binders in 1958 and exhibited at Foyles in the same year. He was elected a Fellow of the Guild but, alas, died in 1967 at age forty-five. Bibliographer J.R. Abbey had a number of books bound by him, one of which is illustrated in The Anthony Dowd Collection of Modern Bindings (John Rylands University Library, 2002, pp. 106-7). He also bound a copy of Craig’s Irish Bookbindings 1600-1800 (the Maddock Collection). A copy of Charles Holme’s The Art of the Book bound by Kiernan is found in the British Library. Many volumes in the Gutteridge collection of books on cricket were bound by Kiernan. He was held in high regard for his original designs and tooling skills, as splendidly displayed here. His career was short, his work distinguished.
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