Did you know that Belgium excels in the field of bookbinding?


A distinction must be made between bookbinding and fine binding or creative binding. Although our country excels in the manual binding of old books and the restoration of works from the past, Belgium has always shown even greater artistic creativity in the field of fine binding. This excellence is recognised worldwide

Routine binding and restoration aim to ensure the durability of books, protect them and make them easier to consult. The goal is to give the books the same appearance and sturdiness as when they left the printing press. To this end, the binding must be rebound, the wear and tear on the cover and interior due to handling must be repaired, the gold must be enhanced, and pages damaged by stains, tears, mould or insects must be restored. However, while fine or creative binding can include these different operations, it goes further. It is carried out by craftspeople and artists, who add their own creativity to the book's original appearance. All materials are allowed, allowing different techniques to be explored in search of an innovative aesthetic, so the artist can demonstrate the full extent of their talent. The book becomes a true work of art in itself, beyond its content, and with modernity and imagination. Creative binding is used mainly for numbered first editions.

Until recently, this art was rarely shown in museums. Belgian creative binding is particularly indebted to the Royal Museum of Art in Mariemont, which has been the exception by presenting contemporary creative bindings among its collections of Antiquities and objects of East and Far East art since 1999.