Decorative Endpaper Project

For this research paper, the physical form of the essay was required to evoke the topic. I chose to illustrate my paper on the design and function of decorative endpapers in a portfolio of folded book covers, cut from book board and covered in sturdy paper. This turned out to be time consuming, as eighteen boards had to be precisely hand cut using an X-Acto knife and straight edge. A reproduction of a decorative endpaper was then pasted on the inside of each cover spread, in essence creating eight hardcover booklets with no pages. The text of the essay was printed in sections on single loose leaves which lay within each booklet; each leaf discussed a topic related to the particular endpaper illustrated in that booklet. The finished booklets were not bound, but stacked and contained in an outer casing.

It was more difficult than expected to locate good examples of printed and illustrated endpapers; they appear to have gone out of fashion, most likely due to the narrow profit margins on which contemporary publishers operate. One lucky find was an old German book with advertisements on the endpapers, featured in the center photo below.

The outside jacket

The interior of one booklet, showing the vintage endpaper

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Click here to view PDF of text


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