|John Bunyan by Thomas Sadler, 1684 (NPG 1311, Image courtesy of the National Portrait Gallery, London)|
The Pilgrim's Progress was on its tenth print run by the time Bunyan died in 1688 (he's buried in Bunhill fields, London). It has been translated into over 200 languages and remains in print even today. Literary critic Martin Seymor-Smith and others after him, have ranked it amongst the most influential books ever written.
Today on Bunyan's birthday, we have pulled out of the collection store a copy of The Pilgrim's Progress from the JM Richards collection. It is a lovely, leather-bound edition with gold tooling on the spine and cover as well as beautiful marbled endpapers, with the same pattern extending over the text block.
|End paper from John Bunyan, The Pilgrim's Progress, Uxbridge: William Lake, 1822, Museum of Domestic Design & Architecture (JMR 1374)|
MoDA's edition of The Pilgrim's Progress was published in 1822 by William Lake, Uxbridge at a time when book binding was only just entering an age of industrialisation and mechanisation. Marbled end paper like that in our copy was a common feature of book design in the period.
End papers function to hold text blocks to book covers and MoDA has a wonderful array of these in our collection. They can be highly illustrative and sometimes informative, including maps and supplementary text but mostly end papers are beautiful patterns that greet the reader upon opening a book.
|End paper in Oscar Wilde, House of Pomegranates, London: James R. Osgood McIlvaine, 1891. Museum of Domestic Design & Architecture (BADDA3128)|
|End paper in Stuart Chase and Marian Tyler, Mexico: A Study of Two Americas, illustrated by Diego Rivera, London: Bodley Head, 1932. Museum of Domestic Design & Architecture (JMR614)|
|End paper in Sir Osbert Sitwell, Laughter in the Next Room: being the fourth volume of Left hand, right hand! : an autobiography, London: Macmillan & Co. Ltd, 1949. Museum of Domestic Design & Architecture (JMR 1016)|
|A collection of end papers from the Charles Hasler collection, Museum of Domestic Design & Architecture (CH5/4/2)|
The Pilgrim's Progress was an influential book in its day. The British Library note that by the late nineteenth century it was still widely published and featured in most homes as essential family reading. For a time, The Pilgrim's Progress was a staple of bookshelves and for this reason, many well-made and decorative editions exist. Do you have similar books on your bookshelf, perhaps passed on as family heirlooms? Take the time to open the covers and see if any interesting end papers are revealed.