Gallery  |  Dominic Riley

  • Dominic Riley
  • Water
    Incline Press 2007
    Bound 2008
    Private Collection, UK

    This book was specially commissioned for Designer Bookbinders for their first ever International Competition. Over two hundred binders entered bindings for the competition, which opened at the Bodleian Library in Oxford and then toured to Boston, San Francisco and New York.

    My binding is in the Tudor Style, developed over the years by Paul Delrue. It is a very versatile way of covering a binding in stages using overlapping strips of leather which gives raised areas to the cover’s surface. This binding has additional thinner strips overlaid, and the whole is then tooled with silver.

    One of the ‘Distinguished Winners’ in the DB International Competition.
  • The Mayor of Casterbridge
    by Thomas Hardy
    Folio Society 1968
    Bound 2009
    Private Collection, UK

    A family is rent in two when a man sells his wife. She and their daughter are cast adrift, he goes on to make his fortune in corn, becomes mayor, then, in time, they meet again, his past catches up with him, he is ruined and they are once again destroyed.

    The coloured shapes are feathered, back-pared onlays. The gold tooling is done with my adapted finishing tool, which allows for more free-form lines to be made than with traditional palettes.
  • The Waste Land
    by T.S. Eliot
    Illustrated by R.B Kitaj
    Arion Press 2007
    320 x 305 x 20mm
    Private collection

    Sewn on fives tapes, laced into laminated, cushioned boards. Painted edges, silk sewn headbands. Cover in full brick red goatskin, with feathered and solid onlays of red, blue, yellow and green goatskin. Gold tooled lines and impressed shapes. Leather joints and doublures, also impressed, suede flyleaves and additional painted paper flyleaves.

    The Waste Land is an iconic poem which revolutionised modern verse when it appeared in 1922. This beautiful limited edition, from the Arion Press in San Francisco, is illustrated with the painting by R.B.Kitaj, ‘If Not, Not’. This huge work, completed in 1976, drew inspiration from Eliot’s masterpiece. It is now in the Scottish National Gallery of Modern Art.

    This is a very large book which required some bold images. I began by creating a very colourful flyleaf, using the colours from the painting, throwing paint onto wetted paper. This abstract image then gave a me a lead into the design for the cover. The shapes represent my reaction to the poem and the painting, and depict the landscape of Europe torn apart by war. Possible interpretations of the forms could be a melted map, the occasional hint of a skull, and a fractured world in crisis.

    The feathered onlays were created off the book, applied to the larger solid onlays, back-pared, and then applied to the covered binding. The impressed areas are done with sandpaper, a technique learned from Rachel Ward-Sale. The gold tooled lines are done with my version of the Ascona tool, a small brass stylus held like a pen, which allows for a more free-hand approach to making images with gold.

Dominic studied at the London College of Printing and has worked in London, New York and San Francisco, where he founded the bindery at the Center for the Book. He teaches in the USA and across the UK, and is an accredited lecturer with the National Association of Decorative and Fine Art Societies (NADFAS).

In 2007 he won both first prizes and the Mansfield medal in the Designer Bookbinders competition and was elected a Fellow of DB in 2008. He is Vice President of SoB.