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Wallet Binding

Florentine Portfolio Binding
Florence, 1516
On: Lanfredino Lanfredini. Libro segreto biancho. Manuscript on paper. [Florence, 1516].
230 x 305 mm
PML 78802. Purchased as the gift of Julia P. Wightman, 1986.
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Light brown goatskin, with overlapping edges in a wallet style, blind-tooled using a variety of knotwork and arabesque tools, with goatskin appliqués employing blue and pink stitching and silk ribbon interlace. As is customary with such bindings, an extended fore edge flap wraps around from the lower cover and closes over the upper. The two grommets in the flap served to channel fabric or leather ties that secured the flap.

Account books, customarily bound in this fashion for centuries to permit their use in the open air and in any weather, were subjected to very hard use. Consequently their survival rate is poor. Sumptuous examples such as the present one, however, constituted luxury versions used by the wealthiest merchants and bankers of Renaissance Florence, and the fresh state of its preservation is nothing short of extraordinary. The manuscript of Lanfredino's "White Confidential Book" is highly important to accounting historians.

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The programs of The Morgan Library & Museum are made possible with public funds from the New York City Department of Cultural Affairs in partnership with the City Council, and by the New York State Council on the Arts with the support of Governor Andrew Cuomo and the New York State Legislature.

Background images: Photography by Todd Eberle unless otherwise noted. © 2006 Todd Eberle.