Hand-crafted by Johanna Birkenruth, Morocco Leather Lined Revolving Book Case. Completely Covered in Morocco Hand-Tooled Leather by Birkenruth (signed in two places with her gilt signature pallet laid into one of the leather compartments. This is a fabulous, one-of-a-kind, Arts & Crafts style revolving bookcase, by Johanna Birkenruth, master British bookbinder in the late 19th and early 20th Century (see below). All parts fully covered in fine green morocco leather, and expertly hand-tooled as if it were a fine binding, featuring a perfectly working rotating base, a central decorative spindle, four compartments to place books, with border lip, and superb gilt tooled designs include a central monogram of GDR inlaid in colors, and intricate gilt-stamped all-over design work. As well, the slats, appearing in triplicate on each side (one lacking) are wonderfully tooled with Art Nouveau style elongated stems and thistle blossoms at the top. In remarkably well-preserved condition. We are aware of not other Arts & Crafts furniture or similar production by Birkenruth, so this stands out as a unique and certainly aesthetically pleasing marriage of art, style and use.
Johanna Birkenruth (1853-1929) was a noted bookbinder in London who became associated with the Guild of Women Binders (though never joined) and established herself as one of the leading bookbinders in the late 19th Century in England. She quickly attained her own independent reputation as being a highly innovative and technically accomplished bookbinder, as early as 1889, and began showcasing her bindings in the top exhibitions of the period. Birkenruth was well-known in London at the Turn of the Century, as well as today, for her embroidered bindings, gouged designs, and idiosyncratic, innovative gilt stamped motifs. One of her bindings displayed at the Arts & Crafts Exhibition in 1897, was instrumental in inspiring Frank Karslake to found the Guild of Women-Binders. According to one admirer, her workshop on Cromwell Road in 1895, has become ìa thoroughly artistic abode where ìpurchasers, and visitors merely desirous of inspecting, are equally welcome.î In 1901, Sangorski & Sutcliffe set up on their own shop after working for Douglas Cockerel, and soon taught a number of pupils, but none so renowned as Sarah Prideaux and Johanna Birkenruth, who learned the rare art of design and finishing from these master bookbinders. Birkenruth went on to become highly networked and independently produced superb bindings to the upper end collectors of the day, including a wonderful gouged full pigskin binding for the celebrated Kelmscott Chaucer. It has been said that Johanna Birkenruth was the first women to give formal lessons in bookbinding.
Price: $8,500.00 Item #5004