Between 1929 and 1930 Aleksander Birkenmajer published two papers, 'Rocznik Woyskowy Krolestwa Polskiego 1817-1830' (Military Annals of the Kingdom of Poland 1819-1830) and 'Fragmenty Belwederskiej Biblioteki W. Ks. Konstantego Pawlowicza w moim ksiegozbiorze' (Fragments of Grand Duke Constantine Pavlovich's Belvedere Library in my book collection), devoted to the art of book binding in Warsaw in the period before the November Uprising. Lack of any other studies on this topic led scholars to believe that the 15 year-period before the outbreak of the Uprising was the apogee of bookbinding in Warsaw, followed by a marked decline. However, analyses of various library collections which contain luxurious, richly decorated bindings made by Warsaw craftsmen after the Uprising force us to revise this opinion. As in western Europe, the style of book binding decoration in the 1830s and 1840s veered towards historicism. Warsaw binders rarely produced neo-gothic bindings, in the so-called 'a la cathédrale' style, which was regarded as the most typical decoration pattern of the romantic era. In most cases, they would use the neo-baroque style which changed and evolved over the years. Luxurious bindings, relatively rarely encountered today, are accompanied by a huge number of more modest products - half leather library bindings. These bindings too are characterised by high quality craftsmanship; the spines are richly decorated, resembling those of luxurious full leather bindings. Bindings signed by their binders as well as the surviving archive documentation and notes that can be found in various publications allow us to extricate the products of particular workshops from the anonymous mass and to take a closer look at the fate and work of their creators.
Financed by the National Centre for Research and Development under grant No. SP/I/1/77065/10 by the strategic scientific research and experimental development program:
SYNAT - “Interdisciplinary System for Interactive Scientific and Scientific-Technical Information”.