Islamic bindings have long been recognised for their beauty and innovative techniques of decoration and during the 15th century it was these that were to influence the binders of Renaissance Italy with the introduction of new styles of decoration and techniques. At first, gold tooling which had been used on Islamic covers since the twelfth century was adopted by Florentine binders for the decoration of geometrical patterns composed of stars or roundels filled with knotwork, very much following the patterns and lay-out found on Mamluk bindings of the fourteenth century.
During the fifteenth century, various changes and developments took place in Ottoman and Mamluk binding techniques and decoration which now provided another source inspiration for the Renaissance binders. These included new types of filigree work which used polychromy to highlight different areas of the pattern, the use of stencils and stamping. These developments originated in Iran in the late fourteenth and early fifteenth century and were then developed at the Timurid and Turcoman courts ateliers. Renaissance bindings were now decorated in the ‘Islamic’ manner with ornament concentrated at the centre and the corners within a frame, while filigree leather work was used for the doublures and gold tooled knotwork, spiralling arabesques and floral ornament within lozenges or cloud collar profiles decorated the covers.
It is the aim of this lecture to provide a brief survey of styles and techniques of Mamluk and Ottoman bindings during the 15th century examining their close relationships with bindings produced in the Timurid and Turcoman realms and how these were then adopted and adapted by the binders of Renaissance Italy.
A glass of wine will be served after the talk.