As books begin to vanish into the digital abyss their tangible aspects become all the more charming. Take endpapers, for example: the lovely decorative pages at the beginning and end of a book that both welcome you and bid you a fond adieu at the finish of a great read like a transdimensional portal. Marbled endpapers are the most traditional and have a surprisingly timeless psychedelic quality that gives them an otherworldly magic. We went to Special Collections at Colorado College to peruse the endpapers and bring you this slide show, which we dedicate to retiring Tutt Library Director Carol Dickerson!

(Many thanks to Amy Brooks and Jessy Randall at Special Collections!)

Music in this piece is “Library” by Gurdonark


5 Responses to Marbled Endpapers

  1. […] Noel Black gave our endpapers a little love in A Big Something today (May 17, 2012). Share this:TwitterFacebookLike this:LikeBe the first to like this […]

  2. Steve Lantier says:

    Great segment. Noel has a real appreciation for how the book as a considered aesthetic object lends to a richer experience of the text. I wonder if it’s too much of a stretch to link the abstract patterning of marbled endpapers (a European decorative element appropriated from the Orient) to the “automatic” abstract visual art of certain Surrealists (a primarily literary movement) &, by extension, American Abstract-Expressionists like Jackson Pollock. Perhaps those endpapers functioned as a germinal, subconscious formal inspiration?

  3. Wow! What fun eye candy! Thanks for sharing! ….just one more reason to make me a sad to loose printed books on paper, though.

  4. Harry Miller says:

    I enjoyed this article but wanted to tell you that this form of art not not dying! Presently I live in central Turkey and the middle east has had for centuries a very similar art form called “Ebru”. The difference is that in the west marbling was only used for books. Ebru is highly prized and hung with pride in homes, businesses and mosques.

  5. Kay Johnson says:

    beautiful stuff, thanks.


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