Under Gilded Edges: Demystifying the Fore-edge Painting with Cat Tail Run Hand Bookbinding

Sometime in the 1500s, an unknown artist decided to try to paint on the page edges of a book while it was fanned open. The result was a watercolor painting that was only visible when the pages were fanned. This art form still amazes today and is known as a “fore-edge painting” or "disappearing painting." Without a doubt, our book-loving ancestors were as charmed as we are by this magic trick because numerous books still exist with fore-edge paintings on them. In most cases, books with this embellishment also have gilt edges to protect and disguise the painting.

We invite you to stop by the NSLM Library Founders' Room between 11:00 am–4:00 pm on June 24, to watch Ann Loomis and Cate Whitehorne of Cat Tail Run Hand Bookbinding. These two experts will demonstrate the delightful art of fore-edge painting and gilt edging. Participants are invited to try their hand at the different techniques and learn about their history.

Please sign up online, or for more information, please email Info@NationalSporting.org.

Free for members, $5 non-members

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Museum & Library Hours

  • Thursday - Sunday
  • 10:00am - 5:00pm

Contact Us

  • Address: 102 The Plains Road,
    Middleburg, VA 20117

  • Mailing Address: PO Box 1335, Middleburg, VA 20118

  • Phone: (540) 687-6542

  • Email: info@nationalsporting.org