Tuesday, July 10, 2007

1909 Ambrosian Missal

I believe many you out there would certainly appreciate this beautiful binding that belongs to a 1909 Missale Ambrosianum, or in other words an Ambrosian missal.

We often think of liturgical beauty for its main categories: architecture, music, vestments, statuary/painting, etc.

Perhaps the forgotten cousin, because of the fact it is less visible, is the ornamentation of our liturgical books, whether by ornamental covers for the gospels, or by the binding itself of a liturgical text. Even our modern reprintings of these texts are fairly utilitarian -- no doubt simply due to cost.

Still, as a bibliophile, I appreciate the art that can go into a good binding. Of course, that doesn't have to mean copious ornament always. While I do enjoy a book that incorporates beautiful, ornate gilt designs, it is also possible to accomplish a fitting a noble binding with less which is still ornamental. (I think, for example, of the bindings of AWN Pugin.)

That being said, who can fail to appreciate this craftmanship:

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