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.

News

May 24, 2015 | NPR · The gruesome discovery of the sites thought to contain dozens or possibly hundreds of remains of migrants from Myanmar and Bangladesh, follows a similar find this month across the border in Thailand.
 

AP
May 24, 2015 | NPR · The Nobel Prize winner who struggled with schizophrenia and was portrayed by Russell Crowe in the 2001 film, died with his wife in a taxi on the New Jersey Turnpike, officials say. He was 86.
 

Reuters/Landov
May 24, 2015 | NPR · Interior Minister Nikos Voutsis says a $1.76 billion payment due next month “will not be given and is not there to be given.”
 

Arts & Life

May 24, 2015 | NPR · Every answer is the name of a famous, one-named singer like Madonna or Beyoncé. Identify each one from its anagram, to which one extra letter is added. The singers are a mix of past and present.
 

Meera Bowman Johnson
May 24, 2015 | NPR · Johnson, the son of an African-American mother and an Irish-American father, has just written Loving Day, a funny, sometimes absurd look at what it means to grow up mixed heritage in the U.S.
 

AFP/Getty Images
May 24, 2015 | NPR · Let’s say you’re not a millionaire but you’re still interested in buying affordable art from the comfort of your living room. There’s now a burgeoning business of selling mid-priced art online.
 

Music

Courtesy of the artist
May 24, 2015 | NPR · Experimental artist Holly Herndon, who mashes up collected sounds, dance music and pop, reflects on society’s relationship with technology on her new album, Platform.
 

Courtesy of the artist
May 23, 2015 | NPR · The polymath pianist and composer has released three new albums — including a recording of his own Mass, whose writing was interrupted by a disastrous car accident.
 

Getty Images
May 23, 2015 | NPR · A defense of the monumental, enduring, deceptively complex Swedish pop quartet, and the underlying emotion that has helped its hooks connect with fans for generations.
 

Get the KRCC iPhone App

The Writer's Almanac

Radiolab