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Rowlandson Old Library

The Sandars Readership in Bibliography is one of the most prestigious honorary posts to which book historians, librarians and researchers can be appointed. Those elected deliver a series of lectures on their chosen subject.

Sandars Lectures 2022-2023

Cambridge Bookbinding, 1450-1770

Cambridge has been a leading centre for binding books (as well as for printing and selling them) for many centuries and books bound in Cambridge are found all over the world. How do we recognise them, and what can they tell us? The 2023 lectures build on a project aiming, for the first time, to produce a comprehensive overview of Cambridge binding work through the early modern period. They explore the evolution of the craft in its broader context, and the questions we should ask when we identify books bound in Cambridge.

Cambridge Bookbindings 1450-1770, featuring 45 bookbindings in Cambridge during the handpress period using the collections of Cambridge University Library, is available on the Cambridge Digital Library.

Lectures were held in-person at Robinson College, live-streamed and recorded. Click on the lectures below to watch the recordings.

Lecture 1: Tuesday 21 November 2023

Lecture 2: Wednesday 22 November 2023

Lecture 3: Thursday 23 November 2023

About the speaker

Dr David PearsonDr David Pearson was formerly Director of Culture, Heritage & Libraries for the City of London Corporation. He is a Senior Fellow of the Institute of English Studies at the University of London, was Lyell Reader in Bibliography at Oxford 2017-18, and teaches regularly on the Rare Book Schools in London and Virginia. His books include Provenance Research in Book History (new edition, 2019), English Bookbinding Styles 1450-1800 (2005), Book Ownership in Stuart England (2021), and Speaking Volumes: Books with Histories (2022); in 2020 he launched the Book Owners Online database. 

Image, top: Thomas Rowlandson (1756-1827), 'Inside View of the Public Library, Cambridge' (1809). (Classmark: Maps Fr.y.14)