Bridges on the Backs

  • By David Gentleman, Introduction by Peter Eden
  • Printed for his friends by the Cambridge University Printer, Cambridge, 1961
  • One of 500 copies, first edition 
  • Bound in 2019
  • Book: 220mm x 280mm x 18mm
  • Box:
  • Private Collection, UK

Full leather stub-binding covered in scarf-jointed black goatskin and fair calf with miscellaneous leather and suede onlays in grey, brown, white, green and gold.

The leather is embroidered in multiple lines and patterns over the onlays with coloured silks using a variety of embroidery stitches.

The whole book is tooled both blind and with carbon.

The endpapers and doublures are made using a combination of paper silhouettes (mattered with a textured finish using a roller and black ink) with embroidered embellishments and gold leaf, plus leather and paper onlays.

Oak box with carbon-tooled book title on the lid.


Description of Design


The nine illustrated drawings inside the book depict all the nine Bridges on The Backs, a picturesque area to the east of Queen's Road in the city of Cambridge, England where several colleges of the University of Cambridge back onto the River Cam. The name “The Backs" refers to the backs of the colleges. The nine Bridges are as follows; Great Bridge, St John’s New Bridge (otherwise known as the Bridge of Sighs), St John’s Old Bridge, Trinity College Bridge, Garrett Hostel Bridge, Clare Bridge, Kings College Bridge, Queens Bridge (otherwise known as the Mathematical Bridge) and Silver Street Bridge.


Each of the nine bridges are illustrated in some way throughout the book and box design, with the oak box designed so that the book can stand upright between some channels inside the lid for display. Each of the bridges names are tooled and attached to the book and box.