The binding is stiff vellum, probably of the sixteenth century; it may be the original binding. It is a utilitarian binding, with no stamping or other decoration. Someone has drawn two circles on the back cover, using a compass (an allusion to Plantin's company device?).


An abbreviated form of the book title is hand written in ink on the spine. This is possibly a later addition. The printing is uneven; the ink has a blue cast and has soaked into the vellum.

At the top of the spine is a faint mark, possibly a shelfmark. Digital enhancement suggests that this is the number 8991 (or possibly g991). The significance of this mark is unknown.

Also near the top of the spine can be seen segments of a cord that penetrates the vellum. This cord is part of the structure that attaches the block of pages to the vellum binding.


On the inside, the cord shown penetrating the vellum above can be seen (the fuzzy white shape in the background in the picture below). The cord is broken where it enters the vellum (at the left in the picture above) and is completely detached on the inside (in the top center of the picture below). The other end of the cord (at right above and left below) attaches to the inside of the vellum; the attachment point is under the paper at the left in the picture below. Strings are wrapped several times around the cord, and are sewn through and tied to the page block, binding everything together.


Because the front inside binding has become detached, it is possible to see some details of how the block of pages is attached to the vellum binding. The strings that can be seen tied through the page block (above) run the length of the book and are sewn through the pages at several other points (below). At three points the string is wrapped around a cord, tightly binding the pages together. Originally the strings would have wrapped around another cord at bottom of the spine, as at the top; this cord (and part of the bottom of the spine) is missing entirely. One of the holes where this cord penetrated the vellum can be seen on the outside of the front cover.


The signatures or gatherings of eight leaves each are sewn with a simple stitch, knotted in the middle. The arrows mark where the string penetrates the paper.

Click to enlarge

Originally the book had two straps that were used to tie the cover closed; the straps are no longer extant, but the holes where they attached to the book covers are still visible, as seen in the pictures below.

Outside strap attachment points (front cover)

Inside strap attachments points (front cover)