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Fore-Edges

A fore-edge (or foredge) painting is a little known type of book decoration which reached the height of it's popularity in 18th century. Fore-edge paintings are watercolour decorations, painted on the pages edges (the fore-edge) of a book. This is achieved by fanning the page block of a book, which is then clamped, whilst an image is applied to the stepped surface of the page edges. The page edges are often themselves gilded or marbled and this results in the painted fore-edge disappearing when the book is closed. When refanned, the painting magically re-appears. The art of fore-edge painting came into existance in the mid 17th century, but today fore-edge book painting is practiced by only a few select artists.

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