Edwards of Halifax was a world-famous company of booksellers and bookbinders.
The company later moved into bookselling and publishing. Their premises were said to be one of the finest bookshops in the country.
The company was famous for the rich and expensive bindings; some included paintings on the edges of the pages which could only be seen when the pages were fanned out – see Northowram Hall.
The firm developed many techniques, including:
A process for rendering scraped vellum transparent/translucent. Paintings and illustrations were executed on the underside of the vellum, which was then lined with white paper before being placed on the book.
The painting being on the underside of the vellum allows the covers to be cleaned when soiled.
This process was used in 1781.
The patent which James Edwards was granted for this process in 1785, refers to both the painting of the material and to the method of making the vellum transparent, but it is unclear whether the patent was granted for rendering the vellum transparent, or for the paintings themselves, or both
The Etruscan style of decorating calf leather, and
Fore-edge painting. An image was painted on the edges of the pages and could be best seen when the book was closed
Examples of these can be seen at the links below.
They were at Old Market, Halifax . The company closed in 1???.
A collection of their publications was purchased by the Bodleian Library in 1966, after a subscription by the Friends of the Bodleian, in memory of L. W. Hanson, the eldest son of T. W. Hanson. The collection consists of primary material – their publications, catalogues, bindings, fore-edge paintings – and of secondary material.
Many of the family were buried at Holy Trinity Church, Harrison Road
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Malcolm Bull 2013 /
Revised 09:23 on 21st July 2013 / mme459 / 7