A fore-edge trick

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For as much as I love my Kindles, I admit they can’t do this trick. The painting on the foreedge remains hidden until the book is opened, and then it provides a sensory pleasure that goes beyond the words. This particular volume is Autumn, by Robert Mudie, and dates to 1937. The trick is far older than that; foreedge paintings go back to the tenth century, and the earliest known disappearing foreedge paintings to 1649.

To accomplish this early Easter egg, the book would have to be clamped into a slightly splayed position, painted, allowed to dry, and then gilted on the edge when closed. Not only that, but it would have to be painted with a medium that wouldn’t stick the pages together or damage them from moisture or solvents. Perhaps the artists among us have an idea. Watercolor in the hands of a master?

This is what an enhanced book looks like in print.

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