The Ways Victorian Book Designs Win Our Hearts

Image via Juniper Books

One of the reasons I initially fell in love with Victorian-era aesthetics is its high level of detail, no matter how big or small an object. Everything in Victoriana, from the tiniest button to the largest mansion, exhibits unique and well-crafted design.

Victorian books are no exception to this rule. There are so many reasons to collect and cherish these texts from an aesthetic standpoint. First off, they look extremely enticing gathered together on a shelf or a table.

Second, even when they’re in a state of delicate decay, Victorian books and their covers are eye-catching. While I don’t recommend disassembling an old piece of literature that’s in good condition, if it seems reasonable to deconstruct it, you can inventively use the covers and pages for collage projects or home decor.

Image via Oxfam

Third, their typeface is always bold and vibrant, as are the colors of the covers.

Image via Richard Martin Gallery

Image via International Library of Children’s Literature

And who can resist the abundant use of gold, also featured on the fore-edges of many books?

Image via Harold B. Lee Library

Sometimes, the fore-edges may even reveal a secret painting!

Image via University of Glasgow Library

Image via Forensic Genealogy

The title pages are equally as exciting as the covers.

Image via The Graphics Fairy

The Victorians were into marbling before it was “cool.” They sure made it look delicious.

Image via Vintage Ephemera

And finally, children’s literature of the 1800s features delightful illustrations.

Image via Antique Images

All of these reasons, and regular trips to secondhand bookstores, have led to my amassing dozens of antique books to comprise a very dear personal collection. Right now, the oldest book I have dates to circa 1840.

Do you have any vintage or antique books? What’s the oldest one in your collection?

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  1. Avatar
    Sydney Duprey 07/24/2014 at 7:19 pm #

    I have a first edition of the Pickwick Papers, which a dear friend gave me. It’s a treasured keepsake of mine!

  2. Avatar
    margotmeanie 07/24/2014 at 8:36 pm #

    I adore all of these old books! I used to spend hours looking over the old leather bound book in my Grandparents basement.


  3. Avatar
    Abigail Reeder 07/25/2014 at 10:03 am #

    I looked through my shelves and the oldest one I have is from 1901! An illustrated book on pirates. My favorite vintage book I own is a fun little bartenders book from 1932, the illustrations are amazing! if I was aloud to post a picture of it here I would 🙂

    • Avatar
      Sydney Duprey 07/26/2014 at 7:23 am #

      They both sound so awesome!!!! I’d love to see what the bartenders book looked like!

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