Visit to West Australian State Library

Text on velum, possibly Vetus Latina

We were taken by the Conservator to the archival area and then to a room where several old, rare and or precious books were set out for our viewing. Being a small group with a special interest in books we were allowed to carefully turn pages and to photograph the items. We had not come prepared to take photos but Tony Lock, using his iphone, took some photos as a record of some of what we saw. These are reproduced in Yapp, Vol 20 No 3. Comments by Bob Crowe.


1. Page on vellum, we didn't recognize the language. It appeared to be Latin and may have been Vetus Latina, a collective name given to the Biblical texts in Latin that were translated before St Jerome's Vulgate Bible (382-405 AD) became the standard Bible for Latin-speaking Western Christians.

2. Wm Roe note book. Covers approx 100 by 150 mm, 3mm thick quartersawn oak. 18 sections, each 4 sheets. About 40 lines of very neat hand writing in Latin per page. Not yet sewn (on cords) but 4 pairs of 3mm holes ready drilled in boards.

3. Welsh Bible. 300 by 380mm, brass clasps hinged at back, engraved brass edging foredge, top, bottom of cover boards.

4. Gutenburg Chronicla. 400 by 550mm, 1/4 bound, 5 cords (or tapes?), wooden boards (probably oak) 12 to 15mm thick very worm eaten, beveled top, bottom, fore for 50mm to 1/2 thickness except under leather and within 80mm of corners.

5. Flinders' maps. 1798 to 1803. 550 by 750mm. Rebound by Tim, marbled covers, narrow leather spine. Beautifully detailed maps/charts.

6. Lexicon Herbraicum. 110 by 160mm, leather cover, 4 cords, sewn-in end papers, a 1684 printing of a sermon given at the funeral in1863 of Lady Elizabeth Brooke.

7. Queen Elizabeth by Creighton (1843-1901) published 1896. Facsimile 200 copies for Great Britain, 100 copies for America.

8. Shiashen. Chinese concertina book of about 100 pages but one-sided so all is visible when folded out. 250 by 350. 1952. Colourful silk covered boards.

9. 1537 Bible.

10. Freycinet's Voyage, Tour Du Monde, in French, A Journey Around The World, 1817 to 1820, published in 1824, many magnificent sketches of creatures encountered and maps. 350 by 600mm. Rebound in leather by George Ross.


An hour was too short to see, admire, examine and make notes that mean anything to a reader. Clearly, this visit should be repeated by other members of the Guild to see the evolution of the book, the bindings, materials on which they were written or printed and the variations in finishing techniques.

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