While most of us know that some of the greatest treasures can be found in books, turns out that sometimes they also appear on the fore-edges of the pages. Recently Colleen Theisen shared a gif she made, showing an amazing example of fore-edge painting on the side of the book from 1873. The painting was found on the edge of Robert Mudie’s book Autumn at the Special Collections & University Archives at the University of Iowa. Fore-edge painting dates back to 1650’s, and is a technique when a picture is drawn on the edge of the book pages. Sometimes the image can be seen when the book is closed, sometimes the pages have to be slightly fanned out.
Autumn was only one of a series about the seasons, similar fore-edge paintings were created on the edges of Mudie’s other books – Spring, Summer and Winter, the donated to the University of Iowa by Charlotte Smith. All of the paintings on Robert Mudie’s books only appear when the pages are slightly fanned out, and seeing them makes you feel like an explorer, who just discovered a hidden treasure. See for yourself!