Special Collection Treasures
Published in March–April 2007 by Jennifer Taylor

Stack of books with fore-edge paintings

A fore-edge painting is a watercolor design painted on the edge of a book. The design is usually only visible when the pages of the book are fanned out. The beginning of fore-edge painting can be traced back as early as the tenth century. The Special Collection department at Samford University has three paintings of this type.

Enoch Arden fore-edge

Enoch Arden fore-edge, Tennyson


Poems fore-edge, Tennyson


Poems of James Montgomery fore-edge, Montgomery


  • Fore-Edge Painting from Conservation Online
  • Montgomery, James, Poems of James Montgomery, London, New York, Routledge, Warne, & Routledge, 1860
  • Tennyson, Alfred; Enoch Arden, London, Edward Moxon, 1864
  • Tennyson, Alfred, Poems, London: Edward Moxon & Co., Dover Street., 1865
  • Weber, Carl Jefferson, Fore-edge Painting, a Historical Survey of a Curious Art in Book Decoration. Irvington-on-Hudson, N.Y., Harvey House, 1966