E-kataloog ESTER

Artiklite andmebaas ISE

Digitaalarhiiv DIGAR

Mon-Fri 10-20, Sat 12-19.
The book return box is in Endla 3, Mo-Su 7-22


Exhibition and the accompanying book to introduce Estonian binder’s labels


On 25 April at 16.00, the exhibition „Estonian Binder’s Labels 1840-1940“ opens in the Rare Books Collection Reading Room of the National Library of Estonia. At the opening, also the book of the same title published in the series Treasures of the National Library of Estonia will be presented. 

For the first time in Estonian book history a review of labels which were used by binderies and binding masters to mark their works has been compiled. A binder’s label can be a typographic sticker, a printed mark, a stamp impression, a handwritten note, or a monogram in the ornament impression. Binding labels are found on the front and back covers, the spine of a book, a flyleaf, or the edge of a textblock. With no label the binding remains anonymous, although behind every label there is a certain bookbinder and his story. So, the binder’s label occupies an important place in the history of our books and culture.

The exhibition features books marked with labels of both the renowned Estonian masters (Taska, Unger, Laakmann, Uleman, and many others) and masters who are little known or even unknown. Also, several unique binder’s labels are displayed. Most of the pieces are from the collections of the National Library of Estonia. The exhibition is complemented by the films about book binding and the restoration of documents; and it shows the tools for bookbinding which are still in use.

In the series of the Treasures of the National Library of Estonia, the richly illustrated book „Estonian Binder’s Labels 1840-1940“ has been published that assembles 165 labels of 90 bookbinders. This book is very special by its design solution, imitating the way of bookbinding which was characteristic of the period discussed in the book. The aim of folding is to create an impression of a half-leather binding with a curved book spine. Three rough edges of the book have been deckled that used to be a common way of book decoration. For the jacket of the book, the sheets of the same publication were used. In addition to supporting the green approach, the reuse of paper is in relation to the content of the book, as historically also waste paper was used in volumes as a stuffing material.

The book was compiled by Indrek Oper from the Preservation Department of the National Library. The binding design has been prepared by the students of the Department of Leather Art, the Estonian Academy of Art, supervised by Professor Lennart Mänd. Printed by Printon AS. The book is available in book shops and the online shop of the National Library.

The exhibition is prepared by Indrek Oper and the Preservation Department of the National Library. Will run until June 9.


Indrek Oper, Preservation Department, tel 630 7251

Marika Kuldkepp, Public Relations Department (book distribution and sale), tel 630 7271

Annika Koppel, Public Relations Department, tel 630 7260