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The Miniature Book Society Grant Offer
The Miniature Book Society is now accepting proposals for funding (up to 1,000 USD) to support projects relating to books measuring up to 3" x 3" (75 x 75mm).

Full details and an application form can be found here.

The Miniature Book Society is an international, nonprofit organization founded in 1983 to facilitate interest in all aspects of miniature books. Further information about the Society's mission and programs can be found at


Booker Prize Bindings at Bonhams, London

We are really pleased to announce that the six bindings that were made for the shortlisted Booker Prize authors are now on display in the foyer at Bonhams in Knightsbridge (Montpelier St, Knightsbridge, London SW7 1HH) through until Friday 1st November (9.00-17.30 weekdays; 11.00-15.00 Sundays. Closed Saturdays).

If you want a chance to see these wonderful bindings in person before they get whisked away by their authors go and take a look!

Also on display, will be some bindings by Philip Smith (1928-2018), including an enormous book wall tower of Dante's Inferno, and a number of bindings for Booker Prize shortlisted novels from previous years.

More details on the Bonhams website.


Congratulations... Richard Beadsmoore, Licentiate of Designer Bookbinders, whose binding of Happy Abstract by William Blake has been awarded Highly Commended in the American Academy of Bookbinding Open.Set Competition for tooling.


Mindful Embroidery
Sarah Burnett-Moore, Organiser of the Designer Bookbinders and Society of Bookbinders Joint Workshop Series will be teaching 'Mindful Embroidery' at The Knitting & Stitching Show in Harrogate 29.11.2019 to 1.12.2019. She will be teaching two sessions of Pamphlet Stitch In Paper and two demos of a Pamphlet Stitch Notebook in Leather.

If anyone wishes to go they can get a ticket at a £2.50 discount by going to the website or calling 0844 209 7325 and quote code HWT36 when prompted.


DB International Competition 2021

We are delighted to announce the launch of A Gathering of Leaves - Designer Bookbinders International Bookbinding Competition 2021, in association with the Bodleian Libraries and Mark Getty.

There is no set book. The chosen theme of plants, gardens and anything connected with flora has been chosen to celebrate the 400th Anniversary of the founding of the Oxford Botanic Gardens, the oldest botanic gardens in the world.

There are two top prizes of £10,000 and £6,000 and the winning bindings will become part of the prestigious Bodleian collection and the Getty Wormsley collection respectively.

There will be a further 25 Distinguished Winner Silver Prizes. These bindings, along with other chosen entries, will be exhibited at the Bodleian Library in Oxford in June 2021. This promises to be an exhibition of some of the world's finest Bookbinders.

We are now inviting binders from all over the world to register to take part in the competition.

Full details here.


New Welcome Pack for New Members!

Designer Bookbinders are pleased to announce that we have created some welcome packs for new members joining DB at events. The first event that these will be available at is the Society of Bookbinders Conference taking place at Bath University between August 29th and September 1st 2019. If you aren't able to get there in person but wish to join and know someone going, why not get them to pick it up for you!

The contents include; A Harmatan cotton bag, Hewits book mark, pen and £5 discount, a bone folder, metal set square, and the current edition - plus one back issue - of The New Bookbinder (DB's annual bookbinding journal).

Associate Membership of DB is open to any individual interested in bookbinding. Associates comprise the largest category of membership with collectors, conservators, booksellers and teachers as well as amateur and professional bookbinders amongst their number.

The Society is constantly seeking new talent, and promising bookbinders are encouraged to apply for Licentiateship. DB nurtures Licentiates by providing a regular series of tutorials and consultations.

Associate membership subscription costs GBP 40 (UK), GBP 45 (Europe) or GBP 50 (rest of the world) per year. This includes four Newsletters and the DB journal. The subscription period is from 1st April to 31st March.

NB Sorry, but due to the weight of the welcome packs and postage costs we are unable to post them anywhere in the UK or abroad so they are for COLLECTION AT EVENTS ONLY.


The Printing Charity's Print Futures Awards 2019

The Printing Charity's Print Futures Awards 2019 ceremony took place on Wednesday (24th) at the House of Lords, and our new Licentiate Gillian Stewart was among the 93 young people who won! They invited Jeanette Koch along as Designer Bookbinders are recipients of grant aid from the Printing Charity for the current 'Transferring Design' project. This project has been organised to provide art students with an introduction to bookbinding as there are no longer any degree level courses available to learn the craft.

The Printing Charity's Print Futures Awards, of up to £1500, are given to young people working in the printing and graphic arts sector, including apprentices, in roles ranging from design and production to customer services and business administration. 93 Awards were given this year, at a ceremony at the House of Lords on Wednesday 24th August, hosted by Lord Black of Brentwood. Gillian runs Juju Books, a creative bookbinding studio in Glasgow, producing bespoke work and teaching workshops. She is DB's latest Licentiate. Soon she will be undertaking a Cor Aerssens's box-making course.

You can see more at and click on Print Futures Awards.


Stewart Field: 1946 - 2019

It is with great sadness that we must report the passing of Stewart Field of ABS Supplies, he was 72. For almost 40 years Stewart produced some fo the finest finishing tools available to bookbinders. He was a man of tremendous talent and ingenuity, for which he was respected by all who encountered him. His contributions to the many areas of science and engineering in which he was interested will be greatly missed.

The SoB National Newsletter will be carrying a longer account of his life and work later this month.


Bernard Chester Middleton
29th October 1924 - 28th January 2019

"Bernard was a good boy and never a problem" his mother told me when I was taken to visit her at a nearby nursing home back in the late 1980s. By then completely blind, she had been rigorous in ensuring Bernard wrote well, and she would correct and return any letters with mistakes, even into his adulthood. His father was a forwarder at the British Museum bindery having previously been at Sangorski’s.

Bernard totally devoted his life to book restoration together with producing designed bindings intricately tooled with gold leaf. When I first started working for him, he constantly reminded me of the need for disciplined hard work and he was at the bench six and a half days a week until his 80s.

Always generous with his time, sharing his knowledge with those seeking his advice and help. Each afternoon he would go up to his study to answer the day’s correspondence by return, hurrying to catch the last collection at 5.30pm. His trips to the post box were eased with his enthusiastic adoption of first the fax machine and then email.

His two monumental publications, The History of English Craft Bookbinding Technique and The Restoration of Leather Bindings became essential reading for students, practitioners, scholars, collectors and the book trade across the world. Following the installation of his bookbinding library at Rochester Institute of Technology, a conference 'Bookbinding 2000' was held there in his honour. More than 400 people from numerous countries attended.

He once said to me, he realised he no longer had the oomph to run and catch a bus. At first, I thought he was joking, but age had begun to take its toll. Following his first stroke, which happened during the Designer Bookbinders AGM in 2011, he gradually became slower and weaker. At 92, he finally retired after 78 years in the trade!  

For the last two years of his life, he was virtually confined to bed. Finding difficultly shaving, he grew a snowy white beard which caused initial confusion to many. The highlights of his life became excursions to eat out and visits to book fairs (reluctantly in his wheelchair). Always smiling and looking radiant in his favourite bright yellow, sleeveless pullover. There, his eagle eyes sought out fine gold tooled bindings to add to his collection, and he met the myriad book dealers and collectors that he knew. His memory and mind remained razor sharp. Visitors enjoyed hearing his vivid memories of events and conversations with fellow bookbinders going back to the 1940s.

His admiration of the fine craftsmanship of yesteryear remained undiminished. The last book he collected arrived in the post on the morning of his death!

He was kind, gentle, extremely modest and loved by everybody.

In the trade he was known as 'The Great Man'. His mother would have been so proud that her boy was not only good, but Great.

Flora Ginn


Bernard Middleton MBE: 1924-2019

It is with profound sadness that DB has to announce that Bernard Middleton died on January 28th.

Bernard was born in London in 1924. He studied at the Central School of Arts & Crafts (London) and began his apprenticeship at the British Museum Bindery (1940-1948), while continuing his training at the London College of Printing. He served in the Royal Navy from 1943-1946. After two years as manager of Zaehnsdorf's, Bernard opened his own bookbinding establishment, specializing in fine book restoration.

Bernard was one of Britain's foremost book craftsmen and trade historians, lecturing and teaching in Europe, the US and South America. He was a Fellow and Honorary Fellow of DB, an Honorary Fellow of SoB and a former President of Designer Bookbinders. In 1986 he was awarded the MBE for services to bookbinding in 1986. His publications include A History of English Craft Bookbinding Technique (1963, 4th ed. 1996), The Restoration of Leather Bindings (1972, 4th ed. 2004) and Recollections: a life in bookbinding (2000).


Martin Frost MBE
Associate member Martin Frost has been awarded an MBE for services to foredge painting. Martin is the last practitioner of this highly specialised craft and received the Maker of the Year award from the Heritage Craft Association in 2017. He has given lectures and run classes in the UK and abroad and has done much to raise the profile of this endangered craft.


Philip Smith MBE: 1928 - 2018

It is with great sadness that Designer Bookbinders must report that Philip Smith died peacefully on 27th December 2018 at the age of 90.

Philip Smith MBE was born in 1928, and began his career in bookbinding and book art in 1949, graduating with First Class Honours at the Royal College of Art in London in 1954. From about 1959, when he developed the technique of feathered onlays with backparing, called 'maril', he consistently explored the potential of the physical form of the book as an alternative art medium. He added new terms to the vocabulary of bookbinding and was awarded patents for several new inventions, both visual and functional, as well as making innovations in structural and visual design. Having gained experience with binding and conservation work under the guidance of Sydney Cockerell, he became an advisor to the British Museum Team working in the Florence Flood aftermath of 1966-67. He worked as a creative book-artist independently from 1961, initiating the development of the Designer Bookbinders society from the Guild of Contemporary Bookbinders. He was President of Designer Bookbinders from 1977 to 1979 and was inaugural editor of The New Bookbinder, serving on the editorial board for 15 years. He was a Fellow and Honorary Fellow of the Society. He won numerous international gold and silver medals for his innovative work and in 2000 he was awarded an MBE for services to Art.

Philip is survived by his three children and five grandchildren. The funeral service will be held at St Margaret's church in Yatton Keynell, Wiltshire, with date to be announced. Further information about these arrangements will be sent to members who may wish to attend to pay their last respects.

In the meantime, the family would welcome any anecdotes or thoughts on their father and his life's work from friends and anyone else who might wish to contribute.


Situation Vacant
Designer Bookbinders is looking for someone to take on the role of Organiser of the Joint DB/SoB Workshops Programme from Sarah Burnett-Moore. This will be a joint role, shared between one DB and one SoB member to provide six individual weekend courses in bookbinding or related arts over the space of one academic year.

Sarah has been organising this very successful and varied workshop series over the last three years. We are looking to have someone new in place by September 2019 to start the planning phase, Sarah is hoping to already have a couple of tutors agreed to teach the 2020-2021 season before she steps down.

For further information see the job description here (PDF).

The current series of workshops can be viewed here.


DB Competition 2018

The prizewinners in the 2018 Designer Bookbinders Bookbinding Competition were announced at the Private View at the St Bride Foundation on 14th November. Full details plus images of all the winning bindings can be seen in the COMPETITION section.



It is with great sadness that Designer Bookbinders has to report the death of Maureen Duke. Maureen was a skilled practitioner and inspirational teacher of the crafts of Bookbinding, Conservation and Restoration for 70 years.

Maureen was made a Medallist of the Order of the British Empire (BEM) in the Queen's 2017 New Year Honours List, for life-long service to the teaching and propagation of the crafts of Bookbinding, Conservation and Restoration. She was also elected as Chair, President and one of the two Patrons of the Society of Bookbinders.

She had a profound influence on students and fellow craftsmen and women across the UK and around the world and continuously motivated the members of the SoB with energy, commitment and high distinction. She commanded the deepest respect for the vigour and enthusiasm with which she preserved, nurtured and interpreted her crafts for several generations of bookbinders and craftsmen.


Faith Shannon: 24 February 1938 - 24 August 2018

It is with great sadness that I have to report that Faith Shannon died on August 24th, after a long illness. She had been in and out of hospital throughout the summer, always hoping to get back to her bindery to continue her work.

Those of us who knew her or had the privilege of being taught by her will remember her as an inspired and dedicated binder, always expecting the highest standards of herself and her students. She was an ambassador for bookbinding as well as a staunch supporter of Designer Bookbinders, and will be sadly missed by her friends, colleagues and family.

Faith was awarded an MBE in 1977 for services to bookbinding and was made an Honorary Fellow of Designer Bookbinders in 2013.

Rachel Ward-Sale


DB/SoB Joint Workshops

The 2018/19 programme of Joint Workshops is now available here. As ever, places are limited so don't delay if you would like to register!



Designer Bookbinders