Gift of The Friends of the Dallas Public Library, Inc.
Since medieval times, fine bindings have marked important books as special, personalized treasures. During the 17th and 18th centuries, an artistic tradition arose in which books were given polished silver covers, often embossed with narrative scenes from the Bible or from the lives of favorite saints.
This Catholic prayer book bears a superb 18th century silver binding crafted in south Germany, with plaques on each cover and the spine containing embossed human and animal figures. Elaborate rope straps and floral decorations are mounted on a silver back plate, and even the clasp is highly decorated.