A True And Faithful Relation of John Dee

A True and Faithful Relation of What Passed For Many Years Between Some Spirits and Dr. John Dee is a large volume and a classic in the esoteric field.  It is the edited account of John Dee and his seer Edward Kelly’s transactions with entities he considered angels….whcih have become know as Enochian Angels. I have long wanted to bind this definitive work and was finally given the chance. My client wanted to preserve the book as a piece of binding art but also have it look like a grimoire- or book of magic. He wants people to be awed by it. I feel he was leaning a bit more toward making it a prop than a preserved bound classic but after reviewing the value of it I knew I had to walk a fine line between looks and true binding art in order to both elevate it to its rightful place as a cornerstone in any esoteric library as well as give him something that he will consider art to be handled.  This edition is the Magickal Childe edition and is not signed by the publisher. A signed limited edition of 500 was bound in leather by Magickal Childe but this was not one of them. Still, it is valuable and more so now that it is a one of a kind.

For the rebinding I started with a cover that was not the original and had to remove it. I then removed all adhesives from the spine, rebacked and curved it, added thick boards and beveled them, added large gothic raised bands, French marbled end sheets, and finally bound it in brown goat skin. The end sheets are wine, black, and gold-colored and so i hand dyed the pages edges and deckled them with black. I was attempting to give the feel of a classical binding but with theatricality. It is anachronistic in many places in that I used modern spine and hinge material but gave it a look of being bound on cords and used goat when most assuredly a book from the 1500’s (one that would have been bound in this style) would have been bound in calf. John Dee lived until roughly 1609 and Casaubon printed this book in 1659. t certainly could have been bound to be an exact 1650’s style but the feel of age and romance was more important. This binding has elements of  classical styles but could fit into the 1890’s, 1920’s or 2000’s which is just what my client wanted.

In order to get a rich multi layered look I extensively hand dyed the goat with a red and black center area, then outside of that a marbled square which was marbled in red, black, cocoa brown, violet, and mahogany, then I rubbed the bands and cover edges with layer upon layer of browns, ox blood, and chestnut, and finally I rubbed it all with waxes and burnished certain areas to bring out shine and shadows according to my taste. This book was shaded and work over to provide a bit of theatrics to lift it into the realm of art. I then hand tooled it extensively with traditional tools. I also added a central scarlet calf piece that has black dyed Enochian symbols on it that I added with a goose quill pen and india ink. I finally topped off this work with John Dee’s Hieroglyphic Monad. The Monad was more prominent in Dee’s mathematical philosophy but was part of his crest and holy science as well.  Since this is not a book by Dee but one about him I thought a comprehensive sigil appropriate. This book is built using modern techniques which will make it last and perform for centuries but has echos of styles from the past as well as the present.

I am quite proud of the outcome, a bit jealous of the client who gets it- but proud to house this amazing work in such an appropriate binding.

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