Maureen Duke BEM

We are delighted to congratulate Maureen Duke on being made a Medallist of the Order of the British Empire (BEM) in the Queen’s 2017 New Year Honours List, for life-long service to the teaching and propagation of the crafts of Bookbinding, Conservation and Restoration.

Maureen Duke has been a skilled practitioner and inspirational teacher of the crafts of Bookbinding, Conservation and Restoration for 70 years. She has had a profound influence on students and fellow craftsmen and women across the UK and around the world and has continuously motivated the members of the Society with energy, commitment and high distinction. She commands the deep respect of all of us for the vigour and enthusiasm with which she has preserved, nurtured and interpreted these crafts for several generations of bookbinders and craftsmen.

Not only have so many of us here in the UK benefited from her tuition, Maureen has lectured and advised in the United States, Norway, Australia, New Zealand, Romania and Venezuela. Her election as Chair, President and one of the two Patrons of the Society of Bookbinders was tangible proof of the love, respect and admiration in which she is held, and this Royal honour is very welcome and long overdue recognition of an exceptional colleague and friend.



First details now available in the Conference and Competition sections of this site.


Hand Bookbinder Required at Maltby's the Bookbinders in Oxford
Maltby's, a hand/craft bindery, established in 1834, and working alongside it's automated sister company, Green Street Bindery, has a vacancy for an experienced hand bookbinder to join an existing team. This is a permanent position starting October 2016.

Essential Skills:
- Leather Binding
- Book Repairs
- Re-binding
Useful Skills:
- Journal Binding
- Thesis Binding
- Foil Blocking

In the first instance, please send CV to:
Garry Phipps, Maltby's the Bookbinders, Horspath Trading Centre, Pony Road, Oxford, OX4 2RD
t: 01865 747459



The Heritage Crafts Association is calling for applications for a suite of awards and bursaries recognising people working in traditional skills.

Craftspeople can be nominated for Heritage Crafts Maker of the Year, Marsh Trainer of the Year, and Marsh Volunteer of the Year. Nominations can also be made for the Marsh Heritage Crafts ‘Made in Britain’ Award. Each award is worth £1,000.

A bursary offered with the support of the National Association of Decorative and Fine Arts Societies (NADFAS) and worth up to £5,000 is also available for study in a wide range of heritage crafts such as weaving, basket making, hand engraving, embroidery, stone and wood carving and ironwork.

The deadline for applications is 30th November 2016.

The awards will be presented at the Heritage Crafts Association’s Annual Conference in May 2017.

Further information and application forms are available here.


Study Session: Book & Bindings
Waddeston Manor, Aylesbury, Buckinghamshire
Thursday 15 September 2016

Explore the treasures of the Waddesdon collection of 17th-and18th-century books and bindings. These include unique manuscripts and luxuriously illustrated printed volumes. Many of the books in the collection have illustrious provenances including great bibliophiles and members of the French Royal Family. The session will provide an opportunity to view some of the treasures of the Waddesdon Collection and to learn about book history through some of its finest examples.

£25 (includes grounds admission), £15 National Trust/Art Fund members, £10 Students
Coffee on arrival 10.15am, study session 10.45am-12.15pm.

Full details here.


SoB/DB Joint Workshops 2016/17

The latest series of weekend workshops organised jointly by the Society and Designers Bookbinders has been announced.

Full details can be found here.



Queen's Bindery Apprenticeship

The Royal Collection Trust, Windsor Castle has announced a 5-year apprenticeship scheme to train binders in all aspects of hand binding and ancilliary subjects.

Full details here (PDF)



Increase in Subscriptions

In 2015 the Treasurer reported to Council that the expenditure of running the Society was more than the income, and that we needed to increase our income and build up a reserve with which to continue the running of the Society in an efficient manner. To do this it has proved necessary to increase subscriptions.

At the AGM in Leeds this year the motion to increase the subscriptions was passed and on settling on a figure Council still insisted on one very important point – there still had to be great value for money. Council feels that with a wonderful journal, BOOKBINDER, the organisation of such events as the Conference, the E & T Seminar, the International Competition, the Newsletter, maintaining the website, Facebook and Twitter among other things, that the new rates achieve this requirement. All the above have cost the Society more each year to run for the benefit of members and Council hopes that you will understand and accept these new figures.

Thank you for your support for the Society of Bookbinders.

New subscription rates (all GBP)

Ordinary Membership (UK): £40.00
Ordinary Membership (Overseas): £45.00
Joint Membership: £55.00
Corporate Membership: £80.00
25 and under: £25.00
Student: £20.00

Dermott Creece
Chairman 2011 - 2015




Designer Bookbinders Annual UK Bookbinding Competition 2016
The set book for 2016 is Vita nuova with an introduction by A. N. Wilson.
The Folio edition is 222 x 144mm, 208 pages. Printed in two colours, the book presents the Italian text alongside a facing-page translation by Dante scholar Mark Musa, including integrated mono- and duotone illustrations by Daniel Egnéus.

Dante Alighieri called the Vita nuova (New Life) his libello, or ‘little book’. Written between 1292 and 1294, it is the first of Dante’s major writings and the essential precursor to his Divine Comedy. An innovative mix of prose and poetry (prosimetron), Vita nuova broke new ground by appearing in Italian rather than the customary Latin. It is a meditation on poetry, and on the torments and joys of lovefrom Dante’s blessed happiness. But Vita nuova’s powers far transcend the travails of a lovesick youth; Beatrice is gradually revealed as an ethereal rather than an earthly being, while Dante encounters otherworldly figures, including the charming Love himself. Dante describes Beatrice as one who is through all ages blessed; 750 years after the author’s birth, Vita nuova still sings today.

The competition is sponsored by Designer Bookbinders and The Folio Society and is open to anyone resident in the UK with the exception of Fellows of Designer Bookbinders. To obtain a copy of the 2016 set book and entry details to the competition, send your payment by cheque (made payable to Designer Bookbinders) to:

Lester Bath
25 Ffordd Ffrydlas
LL57 3BL

Please email Lester Bath for bank transfer instructions if you are unable to pay by cheque. The cost of the set book is £20 to DB Members and £25 for non-members to include packing, postage and entrance fee. Every entrant must bind the set book but open-choice books and artist’s books are welcomed. The expected closing date for entries will be during the last half of October 2016.




The 2015 Maureen Duke Award has been awarded to Mark Cockram. Mark is well known to very many of us. Besides being a member of the Society he is a fellow of Designer Bookbinders, Brother in the Art Workers Guild and member of the Tokyo Bookbinding Club.

He studied at the Guildford College of Technology, ‘Studio Livre’ in Tokyo and the London College of Printing before starting his studio in Lincoln and then, in 2003, Studio Five in London.

He will be using the award to take up the first international internship to be awarded to the Ortigas Foundation Library, Conservation Unit in Manila.




SoB International Bookbinding Competition 2015
Images and full details of the 2015 prizewinners are now available in the COMPETITION section.


For the first time, we have also produced a beautiful 64-page, full colour catalogue containing images of all eighty-five entries. The catalogue, which measures 280 x 215mm, is available to purchase from our online shop.