The exhibition is now temporarily at my home as the glass display cases are needed for the Norfolk Contemporary Crafts Society’s Summer Exhibition at Creake Abbey, near Burnham Market in North Norfolk, which opens on 18th June for one week.
Here are two more of the bindings.
Rex Wade’s binding depicts lively images of some of the medieval ship graffiti from the churches of north Norfolk, which have been reproduced to great effect with gold tooling on a red leather background.
The cheerful fish on Ian Laughton’s binding has been cut from a piece of tanned Icelandic fish-skin, while the back board has coloured leather onlays depicting beached buoys and a lobster pot at low tide. A few red herrings line up along the spine and the title of the book is made up from more leather onlays. A nice final touch is a marker ribbon decorated with red herrings.
MEDIEVAL GRAFFITI are being increasingly discovered in many churches, with a predominance of those depicting ships in churches near the coast. They are scratched into the stone, usually on the columns near the chancel, in prominent positions and although they can be difficult to make out now, when they were first done they would have shown up vividly against the background paint. Their purpose is not fully understood but could be as an offering in hope for the safe return of a ship. Shipwrecks were common in those days and both the crew and the merchant ship owners had much invested in both lives and money.
They are dated by the type of vessel and the sailing rig.