This picture displays the wear and tear of the book, as indicated by the breaking and loss of color on the spine.
*please click for a more in-depth view*
This picture is a continuation of spine damage.
This picture displays the foxing located on the back inside cover of the book.
This picture displays the marbling of the front inside cover, as well as the bookplate of the owner.
Ownership and Use
Along with the binding, the rest of the general outside cover also provides clues pertaining to the damage use of the book. As stated before, the book was rebound in a red leather with gold detailing. This shows that the previous owner, Edith Langdale Stallings, was an affluent individual. Another aspect for determining the affluence of the owner is the marbling of the end pages. Both books by Akenside and Armstrong were published in the late 18th century. This was around the same time that marbling on pages became very popular. Stallings has both the front inside cover and the back inside cover marbled to personalize her book all the more. Instead of having the plain paper that is similar to the rest of the book, the owner paid to have the front pages marbled.
There is also an Ex Libris bookplate on the inside front cover. These bookplates are 3x5 inch papers that display the specific ownership of the book. According to the University of Virginia, bookplates were a sign of high status because making books was expensive and these plates were made by professional designers (University of Virginia). The bookplate had only come into popularity in the middle class in the 1840s because books became much cheaper. Since this book was put together at a much earlier date, it can be determined that the creation of this book in its entirety was a very expensive process. Pertaining to Edith Langdale Stallings' specific bookplate, it is most likely that the book was either passed down to her through her family or that she collected it as a relic in a rare book collection. This can be concluded because the style of the book and bookplate are quite different. The bookplate seems to be in a 1920s format and font, while the book is in a much older print and format. So, it is possible that the book was collected or passed down. Then, in the 1920s, Edith Langdale Stallings put her personalized bookplate inside of the front cover.
As stated before, the cover is made of animal skin, most likely leather. Leather is a material that darkens over time with repeated use. Upon close inspection of this book, the cover shows lightened and darkened places. The cause of this is presumably the natural oils from the hands of all the previous owner(s). Without proper treatment of leather, it is likely to crack, darken, and crease. This book has scrapes on the front cover with wear and tear on the corners and seams; therefore, it appears that the book has been well loved. This book shows signs of foxing throughout as well as what appears to be water damage on the front and back inside covers. This indicates that the book is extremely old and has been through numerous incidents.
It is also important to note that the damage that occurs in books allows individuals to recognize the causes and take the appropriate steps to fix the problem. Each type of damage has a specific protocol to fix the problem. This, therefore, saves the book from further damage and preserves the book. There are two types of factors that can affect books, they include: 1) internal factors, which includes how the book ages and is affected by adverse conditions, and 2) external factors, which includes the environment, handling, and storage (British Library). The Poetical Works of Mark Akenside and John Armstrong is a very old book, and through the work of careful conditions and digitizing the book, the library of Georgia State has been able to preserve the book for years to come.