Treasure of the month - August 2009
19th Century Novels Collection
This collection of approximately 1500 nineteenth-century novels consists almost entirely of the works of lesser-known writers, such as Rosa Carey, Emma Warboise and Alexander Grant. Scottish writers are also well-represented in the collection. In addition, the collection features some lesser-known works by well-known authors, such as Arthur Conan Doyle's historical novels Micah Clarke (1890) and The Refugees (1893), and fiction publications by Benjamin Disraeli, such as Sybil (1862), his propagandistic novel tracing the plight of the working classes of England.
By the Nineteenth Century, books were largely sold ready-bound, as opposed to being issued in wrappers to allow collectors to commission personalised bindings and cloth had replaced leather as the binding material of choice. Industrialised binding and decorating processes made it easy to produce coloured patterns directly onto the cloth. There was an increasing demand for literature, books were mass-produced, publishers were vying for business and book bindings accordingly became more vivid and ornate in the competition to be noticed.