Bookworms who do indeed judge a book by its cover might like to make a note of Hannah Brown’s luxury bespoke bookbinding service that turns beloved novels into treasured mementoes – splendid, three-dimensional objets d’art that can still be read.
Brown’s stunning, tactile pieces feature leather, intricate embroidery and woodwork. The design for each spans the cover, endpapers and doublures (an ornamental lining inside the book) – together with the box that contains and protects it. “My bindings can take between 200 and 250 hours to complete,” says Brown. “It depends on the size of the book, the condition it’s in, the complexity of the design and the style of its container.”
Brown can work to a particular brief, coming up with an idea after reading the chosen text and creating a sample board of colours and techniques to present to the client, but more often than not she is given free rein with the design. Sometimes, clients are so enamoured with her aesthetic that they simply invite her to choose a book from their library to work on.
Examples of her work include an evocative detail of a 1950s-style party on sapphire-hued leather, complete with the flash of a ginger cat – a vivid recreation of the party scene from Breakfast at Tiffany’s (£3,700, first picture). A striking golden chandelier on black leather conjures a scene from Irène Némirovsky’s 1929 novel David Golder (£3,200, second picture), while Don’t Look Now and Other Stories (£2,000) features a flock of birds, their silhouettes blocked out in a variety of colours and gold-plated metals.
Utterly original gifts with heirloom potential, these books elevate the ordinary to the extraordinary.