Monday, May 7, 2012

A Fabulous Ball

Thomas Watson Ball
The Goodness of Saint Rocque 
by Alice Dunbar
(Dodd, Mead & Co., 1899)
17.5 x 11.3 cm.

The wonderful thing about this cover art is the illusion of the reflection of the crescent moon on the water seeming to illuminate the surface coming toward the viewer in perspective.

This photo doesn't capture the scintillating glitter of the sea--it's a great effect, created by texturing the stamping die microscopically so the silver stamping reflects at different angles in the crescent moon and in the ripples on the sea. This can be seen by examining the stamping with a 10X loupe.

The next three photos show the details. The effect is different on the lettering, which has a texture from the fine weave cloth, and no added texture from the stamping die:

The stamping is of course not silver, but likely aluminum in 1899--it was a precious metal until Hall and Bayer developed methods of extracting it around 1889 --silver leaf wasn't used for book cover stamping because it tarnishes. White gold is also a possibility. In the late 20th century Palladium leaf became popular with bookbinders.

Below is the same book with a slight change in lighting: