The Natural History of British Butterflies

  • The Natural History of British Butterflies
  • By James Duncan
  • Illustrated by thirty-six plates with memoir and portrait of Werner
  • W. H. Lizars, Edinburgh, 1835
  • Book: 122mm x 170mm x 38mm
  • Box: 196mm x 194mm x 68mm
  • Outer box: 196mm x 194mm x 78mm
  • Private Collection, London, UK
  • Bound in 2014 for The Designer Bookbinders Annual Competition

Full leather stub binding, sewn on three tapes, covered in orange goatskin
Miscellaneous leather onlays and inlays in yellow, orange. blue, brown and cream
The leather is embroidered over the onlays with silk threads using a variety of different embroidery stitches
The binding is tooled with specks of gold and moon gold, and has blind tooled detail on the cover
The endpapers and doublures are patterned with ink, watercolours, coloured pencils and sewn detail
The endpapers doublures are also pierced with a scalpel, with the cut out pieces glued elsewhere on them
The original gilt edge has been retained

Oak box which has been routed, mitred and glued
Acrylic window inset into the top of the box to view paper butterflies, like an entomological specimen tray

Description of design

This book contains thirty-six wonderful hand-coloured plates of British butterflies. The images are black and white apart form the colour placed on the butterflies themselves so I wanted this to also be the case on the book cover, choosing a muted colour for the plant detail in contrast to the heavily embroidered butterflies. The endpapers and doubures were designed to look like a close up of a butterfy wing, mirroring eachother as in nature. I pierced holes in them to add a fragility.

The box is designed to be like an entomological specimen box in a museum and uses tacks to hold the butterflies in place.