The Art and Craft of Decorated Endpapers

Limited-time exhibit featured in the Library Room


Endpapers, those often non-descript blank papers at the beginning and end of books, serve the necessary purpose of adhering the text block to the boards. However, at one time, the endpapers themselves were viewed as an aesthetic part of a book.

The Art and Craft of Decorated Endpapers is the title of a small exhibit curated by Research Librarian Carolyn Marvin in the Library Room of the Athenaeum.  The exhibit features early books with hand pasted coloring, examples of the many variations of early hand-marbled endpapers as well as some being handmade today in Italy, the United States, and England.

Accompanying the exhibit are two panels:  the titles and dates of the books chosen and a description of the history of and techniques used in hand marbling.

The Library Room is on the third floor of the Portsmouth Athenaeum. The Athenaeum is open to the public Tuesday through Saturday from 1 p.m. to 4 p.m. Public entrance is shared with Ireland on the Square at 6-8 Market Square, Portsmouth, NH. For elevator access, please call 603-431-2538.