Elizabeth Soutar Bookbinding Award

Stunning examples of bookbinding excellence showcased at NLS

Talented bookbinders from across the globe were recognised during an awards ceremony at the National Library of Scotland recently.

The Library initiated the launch of the Elizabeth Soutar bookbinding competition 18 years ago to recognise excellence in the field of craft bookbinding, and today it continues to attract a wealth of talent from Europe and beyond.

Sweden's Toby Gough scooped the 'Best craft binding' prize for his beautifully bound edition of 'Skägård', while Portugal's Antonio Leal, who now resides in France, won the 'Best creative binding' title for his bound edition of 'Mascarades' - both were awarded prizes of £1,200.

Their artful creations are now set to go on public display at the National Library of Scotland alongside this year's shortlisted entries.

Rab Jackson, a competition judge and the Preservation and Conservation Manager at the National Library of Scotland, said: 'This competition is all about ensuring book binding continues and is encouraged.

'It takes exceptional skill and years of training to reach the level of expertise that was demonstrated by this year's 26 entrants. We, as judges, never cease to be amazed by the continual evolution and dynamism witnessed in this competition.'

Runner-up Annette Havekost from Germany received a cheque for £500 in recognition of her highly commended version of 'Fanferlieschen Sohonefusschen' in the 'Best craft binding' category.

Rab Jackson said the standard of this year's entries was exceptionally high, making it a tough decision to choose just one winner.

Describing the judges' favourite entries, he said: 'Toby's submission demonstrated a simplified approach to binding, incorporating a salmon-skin spine with an exquisite balance of colour. Antonio on the other hand utilised a variety of materials - vertical and horizontal strips of orange box were combined with buckskin and calfskin binding, resulting in a truly original creation.

'Annette's submission was very accomplished and it was extremely difficult to choose between her and Toby's work, hence her high commendation for an impressive cover which incorporated 50 rings and knife-like circles in gold tooling.'

Previous winners have hailed from Scotland, Germany, Belgium, Sweden, Italy, the Netherlands, England and Japan.

If you would like to view the winning and shortlisted entries, drop by the National Library of Scotland's public exhibition space on George IV Bridge, Edinburgh, between March 2 and 16.

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31 January 2011

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