A is for…

Alum Tawed Skin


Alum tawed skin is prepared in a solution of aluminium and potassium sulphates. The result is a white, soft skin which can be seen on several early bindings in the Bolton Library, such as the panel-stamped Alter libellvs Epistolarvm Philippi Melanthonis, which features a well-known figure at its centre: the reformer Martin Luther. Tooling such as this is produced by wetting the skin before impressing the design.


Armorial Bindings



On the extravagant gold-tooled binding covering this early 17th century pontifical – a liturgical book used by a bishop for the carrying out of rites – we find the ownership markings of David Kearney, Catholic Archbishop of Cashel at the time. An IHS sunburst centres its front cover, but on the rear appears this as yet unidentified gilt stamp.