The Secret Scripture by Sebastian Barry
Faber & Faber, 2008
Bound by Philip Smith

The Book is about the memories of a near 100 years old lady, a patient inmate of an Asylum in Sligo, west of Ireland. She was a very beautiful young lady when the narrative opens. She secretly wrote down her recollections on pieces of paper that she hid under a loose floorboard in her room. She was 'framed' because the Irish (church) authorities considered her to be a willing temptation to young men in the area, and so they incarcerated her in this mental institution saying that she was mad; which she was not. She was looked after for fifty years by a psychiatrist, a Dr. Grene, who also wrote down his own impressions in his journal. The book has alternated extracts from both parties' accounts. This was during the 'troubles' in Ireland. The colourations and details are symbolic of the action in the novel.

‘ My binding shows the image of this person as a young woman (cut out of the front cover of the paper-back and inlaid) and the back cover has a printed copy of an over-painting in acrylics (photograph of a mirror image) of the head of the woman as a very old lady. The heads have radiating 'flames' or rays, very wild, long and irregular on the front image and short and geometricised around the head on the back cover. Both heads are shown on black background circles. The coloured outlining of each circle being a reference to young and old. These portrait images are set amongst wild purple maril, with green flourishes.

The covers are scarf-joined plain blue at the upper part, purple in the middle and bright green at the lower end of the covers. Because this paperback novel was printed wrong way of the grain this inhibits the opening of the book, so I use a completely open spine lined only with two layers of Japanese tissue to take the painting on the spine that connects both cover images. The fore-edge is also painted to link the boards.

Cotton fabric reinforcing strips bridge the head and tail of the spine under quarter-joint yokes. The end sections have gussets where re-enforcing cotton joints are trapped and glued on the inside of the boards. The sewing is with continuous link stitch (over tapes under the yokes and link-stitch only for two middle sewing stations. The portrait heads are placed to look across the spine at each other (as they are doing in the story).