An art of bookmaking. A publishing house ‘Rare Book from St.Petersburg’


People have been fascinated by books since early times. Extremly rare and expensive, manuscripts were items of an outstanding value,determined not only by the material cost,but by the time and labor consuming nature of the process. Things have chanced radically since the invention of a printing machine: the process of bookmaking underwent transformation and became much cheaper and faster. Nowadays almost everyone can afford a  personal copy of a book and the variety of books on offer can easily impress.Thus, a book as an object can be considered as something of utilitarian need and little material value.

In a contrast to the trend of becoming cheaper and more widely affordable, a notion of bibliophilic book arose. Being unique is a core principle of such object. Bibliophilic book as a thing of extraordinary material and symbolic value can only be afforded by a small group of collectors and connoisseurs.

With this principle of value and uniqueness in mind the ‘Rare book of St.Petersburg’ publishing house was found in 1991 by a group of adherent book-lovers.

Every book which has been published since 1991 is nothing but an art piece. According to the ideology of bibliophilic bookmaking, all books are made in very limited number. Sometimes the number of copies amounts up to 10 exemplars.The variety of art works to be published covers wide range from the Bible and the Upanishads  to modern classic 

A process of bookmaking is a point of great importance: publishers always use sublime materials, traditional craft techniques. Moreover, every item is a result of teamwork of experienced and high-class experts and artists. Therefore, a bibliophilic book have much more in common with its medieval predecessors than with modern serial items.

However, this is not to say that a bibliophilic book means the same as artist`s book. Although they share several common features like those of artistic value, limited number of copies, there are some differences. The most obvious among these differences is the one of material issue: while an artist’s book can easily be made out of cheap and wide-spread materials if it corresponds with the artistic concept, only sublime high-class materials are allowed for bibliophilic book. There is no way bibliophilic book can be crafted out of a piece of wallpaper. Of course, if only this piece of wallpaper  wasn`t mastered by the W. Moriss`s hand.  

Among materials which are used to produce such kinds of unique objects are precious sorts of wood, vellum, silver and gold, rare natural colors, precious stones, exquisite fabrics and porcelain. The imagination of experts involved in the bookmaking process is limited only by reasons of potential performability. 

by Tieriekhova Masha

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