Gallery  |  Michael Burke

  • Michael Burke
  • The Stonyhurst Gospel (St Cuthbert's Gospel of St. John)
    Historical Model

    This is a facsimile model of the oldest decorated English Book, dating from the seventh century CE. The original was found in the coffin of St Cuthbert who now rests at Durham Cathedral. It is in now on display in the permanent exhibition of treasures at the British Library.

    It is sewn by link stitch with thread laced into wooden boards. It has a primary endband, with a secondary endband sewn through the spine leather. A Celtic knot-work pattern is laid out on the boards with thin cord, which is attached using an ingenious technique of weaving and pegging. The book is covered in terracotta goatskin, molded over the cords, which picks out the design in relief on the upper board. It is then embellished with a little blind tooling, and part of the tooled area is picked out with yellow paint, emulating closely the original decoration.
  • Nag Hammadi Codex
    Historical Model

    The Nag Hammadi codices take their name from the Egyptian village where in 1945 a clay pot containing thirteen ancient books was discovered. These books are the earliest extant codex bindings ever found, and were uncovered in remarkably good condition.

    It has a textblock of folded papyrus, bound together with knotted leather tackets on a leather spine piece and covered in boards stiffened by layers of papyrus. The boards have leather edging strips. The structure is covered with hand-dyed North African goatskin. The book is held closed with leather ties and wrapping bands, which are integrated to the cover using a delicate slotting and lacing technique.
  • Byzantine Bookbinding
    Historical Model

    This enduring bookbinding structure emanates from Constantinople, the seat of the Roman Empire that lasted for a thousand years after the Fall of Rome.

    The book is sewn with linen thread, has shaped, quarter-sawn oak wooden boards, a cloth spine lining and a leather cover. It has sewn endbands which extend onto the boards, and is held closed with peg and strap fastenings, made of metal and braided leather. The binding is further embellished with decorative metal pieces and studs. The structure is remarkable for its extraordinary practice of sewing the book in two halves and then joining them together.

Michael studied bookbinding with Dominic Riley and paper conservation with Karen Zukor, both in San Francisco, where he lived from 1994-2001. He was involved in establishing the bindery at the San Francisco Center for the Book, where he returns to teach each summer.

Now resident in the Lake District, Michael teaches bookbinding at the Brewery Arts Centre in Kendal. In recent years he has been researching the structures of ancient and medieval bindings. He is a past chair of the North Wales & North West region of the Society of Bookbinders.