Monday, October 22, 2012

Riviere Binders

Delve within Newnham Library’s ‘Young Collection’ and you will soon notice a number of works which have been 'Bound by Riviere.’ 
The Young Collection

The Riviere binders were a prominent and prolific company from 1840-1939, situated in London’s West End. Their binding is recognisable for its full goatskin binding with gilt spines and meticulous and skilled craftmanship.

Riviere binding
Robert Riviere’s career began in Bath as first a bookseller and then a binder in 1829. His natural talent for binding became increasingly noticed and as business flourished, by 1840 Riviere had moved to set up his firm in London. Numerous renowned book collectors became avid fans of Riviere, including the Duke of Devonshire, and even Queen Victoria. 
It is fair to say that not only his employers were famous however, but equally the items he bound in themselves. Most significantly perhaps, Riviere rebound the facsimile edition of the Domesday Book which is now kept at The National Archives.

Riviere died in 1882, but this by no means meant the end of his business. Before his death, Riviere had trained his grandson, Percival Calkin, in the trade and business, and made him  a partner in 1881. This led to the renaming of the business as ‘Robert Riviere & Son’. The company continued to produce skilled and intricate binding matching its founder’s quality, until 1939.

Journal of Sir Walter Scott: spine
 and end pieces.
Although Newnham Library cannot claim to own Riviere’s Domesday bound work, we certainly have some beautiful gems in the trademark Riviere style. 

Collected works include: A History of British Reptiles and A History of British Quadrupeds by Thomas Bell; The Journal of Sir Walter Scott, from the original manuscript;Thomas Bewick: His Life and Times by Robert Robinson and many more. 

These items are kept within our special collections and are therefore unavailable on the open shelves. However, please ask library staff or email if you would like to see this or any of the works within our special collections.

Polly Harper, Graduate Library Trainee  2011-2012

[Accessed 1st June 2012]  [Accessed 1st June 2012] [Accessed 1st June 2012]

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