Michigan State University

17th Century: Refinement in Style

The structure of 17th century books is very similar to the previous century, but the decoration and styling become more refined. Decorated endpapers become more common, endbands become more colorful, and the use of gold tooling increases.

Author:  Clavius, Christoph, 1538-1612.
Title:  Algebra Christophori Clavii Bambergensis e Societate Iesv.
Publisher:  Romae, Apud Bartholomaeum Zannettum, 1608.
Call Number:  QA 33 .C55 1608

A full vellum binding over boards with clasps. The boards are beveled and the covers blind tooled. There is no lettering on the spine. Although this is a 17th century book, the style is much more reminiscent of the 16th century.

Christoph Clavius Christoph Clavius. Image 2. Christoph Clavius. Image 3.

Author:  Smith, Thomas, Sir, 1513-1577.
Title:  Thomæ Smithi Angli De repvblica Anglorvm libri tres. Qvibvs accesservnt chorographica illius descriptio alliq[ue] politici tractatus.
Publisher:  Lvg. Batavor., ex officina Elzeviriana, 1641.
Call Number:  JN 185 .S6

This small full leather binding has a simple blind line on the boards and gold tooling on the spine. Handsewn endbands and the edges are sprinkled, which is typical of 17th century bindings.

Sir Thomas Smith Sir Thomas Smith. Image 2.

Author:  Littleton, Thomas, Sir, d. 1481.
Title:  Littletons Tenures in English, lately perused and amended.
Publisher:  London, Printed for the Company of Stationers, 1661
Call Number:  HD 1160 .L5 1661

This is a good example of why it difficult to date bindings. The sewing cords are sawn in, which is more typical of 18th century bindings, but the cord is made out of leather which is more reminiscent of much earlier bindings. In another hark back to older bindings, there is no endpaper pasted down to the inside of the covers.

Littletons Tenures in English by Sir Thomas Littleton Littletons Tenures in English by Sir Thomas Littleton. Image 2.

Author:  Conti, Armand de Bourbon, prince de, 1629-1666.
Title:  Traité de la comedie et des spectacles : selon la tradition de l'église, tirée des conciles & des saints pères.
Publisher:  Paris : Billaine, 1666.
Call Number:  PN 2051 .C57 1666

A full leather binding with a mottled treatment on the leather. This is very common in 17th century bindings. The minimal gold tooling and sprinkled edges are also very typical as are the green and white handsewn endbands.

Conti, Armand de Bourbon, prince de

Author:  Naudé, Gabriel, 1600-1653.
Title:  Science des princes; ou, Considerations politiques sur les coups d'état. Avecque les reflexions historiques, morales, chrétiennes & politiques, de L. D. M. C. S. D. S. E. D. M.
Publisher:  [Strasbourg] 1673.
Call Number:  JC 494 .N24 1673

Another mottled full leather binding with the typical sparse gold tooling on the spine. The missing leather on the spine allows the sewing and endband structure to be seen. As is typical with 17th century bindings, only a few tie downs for the sewn endbands were used, in this case five, which can be seen where the leather on the spine is missing.

Science des princes by Gabriel Naudé Science des princes by Gabriel Naudé. Image 2.

Author:  Glanvill, Joseph, 1636-1680.
Title:  Essays on several important subjects in philosophy and religion
Publisher:  London, Printed by J. D. for John Baker and Henry Mortlock, 1676.
Call Number:  B 1201 .G53 E7 1676

The full leather binding has a very common panel design on the covers. The book has been rebacked and brown endpapers were added at that point.

Essays on several important subjects in philosophy and religion by Joseph Glanvill.