Middlemarch by George Eliot First Edition Book Spines

Illustrating first edition book spines is one of our studio’s love projects, which basically means we do it just because we enjoy it. How could you not? There aren’t many better ways to spend a day than drawing and looking at some amazing art. Well we think so anyway.

We got some great feedback on our first collection of books pines a few months ago. That collection is a re-creation of the spines created for Virginia Woolf’s Hogarth Press published editions by her sister Vanessa Bell. They have been a big hit, and we’ve been delighted to discover that other people like the idea as much as we do.

george eliot

Illustrating first edition book spines is one of IYBI’s love projects. Our latest offering is the Middlemarch series by George Eliot

We’re happy to say that since then we have not put this project on the shelf! Far from it. We’ve been busy but studio love is also a priority, which is why we are so pleased to share the next set – ‘Middlemarch’, the 8 book series by George Eliot.

George Eliot was the name under which Mary Ann Evans wrote in the 1800’s, as she said that being seen as a male ensured that her work was taken seriously. She became one of the leading writers of her time under this moniker, with one of her most well known works being Middlemarch.

george eliot
Set in provincial England, the 8 part series explores a number of themes including the status of women, idealism, the nature of marriage, religion, hypocrisy, political reform, and education. It was received very positively at the time of release and continues to be popular today, gracing various ‘best of’ reading lists.

Personally, we are drawn to the beauty of the original cover illustrations. Each spine features the same base design of intricate flourishes and ribbon detailing, with the titles and numbers changed for each volume. They make a lovely addition to our collection.

Next in the works are the ‘Rollo’ books – a children’s series by Jacob Abbott. The first editions are beautiful so we’re really excited to see how they turn out.

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by Beth Stewart

Beth is a senior designer and account manager at IYBI. She runs the studio WIP meetings and has a handle on all studio projects. She is also directly responsible for all studio proposals and client facing work.
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