The Rollo Books by Jacob Abbott First Edition Book Spines

One of our longest running love projects are the illustrations of classic first edition book spines we started in 2011. Our first set was the highly influential Virginia Woolf, illustrating the spines that her sister Vanessa Bell created for the first editions of her novels that were published through Hogarth Press.

Our next author was George Eliot and his Middlemarch series. The third and latest offering is a selection of the childrens’ Rollo Books by Jacob Abbott.

jacob abbott book spine

Illustrating first edition book spines is a love project of Creative Studio If You Build It. Our latest offering is The Rollo Books by Jacob Abbott

Jacob Abbott was a highly prolific author in the early 1800’s, producing work in a wide variety of styles including histories, biographies, religious texts and children’s fiction. His Rollo Books are the first recorded multi-volume children’s series which feature the adventures of the same central character.

jacob abbott book spine
There are fourteen books in the series, and we selected our favourite five to illustrate – Rollo Learning to Talk (the first in the series), Rollo Learning to Read, Rollo’s Museum, Rollo’s Vacation and the double volume of Rollo’s Sky and Rollo’s Air.

Many hours were spent recreating and refining the gilt detailing and hand crafted font of the stunning originals, although it’s true that time flies when you’re having fun. The spines are stunning as a set or as individuals, and we’ve been discussing our favourites and where to hang one in the studio.

jacob abbott book spine
We’ve been considering how to share our love projects with the rest of the world, and we’re currently working on designing and building our own IYBI eBay store where we will be selling these beautiful pieces. For the time being we have thrown a couple of products up on eBay starting with Virginia Woolf, and we’re constantly adding.

The whole studio is pretty excited about this new venture, and we’re charging full speed on our vertical site, as well as our next series of spines.

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by Radi Safi

Radi Safi is the Creative Director at IYBI. In 2012 he launched Happy, a music blog and media company.
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