I have finally finished my little treasure, though I think it may need a little dab with the hot glue gun, as a couple of spots are determined not to stay glued. Me and glue... sigh.
First, the inspiration... this gorgeous little High Renaissance objet from the collection of the Walters Art Museum.
The manuscript dates from about 1550 A.D. and, at 1in x 7/8in (2.2 x 1.67cm), is so small that it's been mounted with a chain for wearing as a pendant.
It's made of gold sheet and an enamelling technique called champlevé. The stones are rubies or spinels. The artisan who made the book is unknown but it's "in the style of Giulio Romano", Italian, probably made in the years 1499-1546. The tiny manuscript inside (identity unknown but I assume a religions text of some kind, perhaps a Book of Hours or a missal) was created by Jacobus Romanus, (1515 and 1560). Sadly, this item isn't on regular display at the museum, though it has featured in several exhibitions.
Mine isn't that tiny, I hasten to add! Mine is roughly double size, 5cm x 4.67cm or about 2in x 1 3/4in and that was quite fiddly enough, thank you. And needless to say, mine isn't actually made from gold and precious jewels.
The tangs for the catch are square brads, larger than I wanted but I couldn't find anything else small enough to suit.
I painted cartridge paper with a pale brown watercolour wash and cut it into signatures. Because of the size, I could only put three signatures into a pamphlet, so the book is made of 12 individual pamphlets, sewn together with pamphlet stitch. I attached the book block by adhering the front and back pages to the inside covers as end papers.
I painted the page edges with gold paint, as there seemed to be some traces of gold paint on the leading edges, perhaps from illumination on the pages. But no, I haven't yet illuminated my pages.
I like my little book, although it offered me quite a few challenges to make.