This Silver Filigree Garnet cover was originally designed in Germany in the early 1800s. To achieve the gilded motif, a base layer of silver sheets was first die cut, and elaborate grooves were then etched into the surface. Our silver and jewel-tone red design celebrates the technique of filigree, an art form that is a testament to the human drive to ornament.
While the Paperblanks library of cover designs draws from diverse sources of visual art, antique book bindings in particular have long provided us with an abundance of inspiration. Many such book covers were originally made of leather but in the case of our Silver Filigree Collection, the focus is instead on the splendour of bindings decorated with filigree metalwork.
This manner of adorning books was particularly favoured in the 17th and 18th centuries, with nearly all bindings of this type manufactured in Holland, Switzerland, Germany and the Scandinavian countries. Over the years, craftsmen experimented with different methods of coaxing metal into ornaments of tender and elegant beauty.
One such design is recreated on our Garnet cover. The original binding, which was crafted for a book of religious hymns, used a simple metal plate as a base for the ornament whose fancy curlicues were formed with metal wire and tiny beads. Dating to the early 1800s, the cover was made in Swabia, the southwestern part of Germany. At that time, Empire-style, as seen in this design, was the leading style in European decorative arts. The grandeur of the cover’s ornament reflects the period’s idealization of Imperial Rome and Ancient Egypt.
With its regal and ceremonial connotations, we found this jewel-toned red background to be a harmonious accompaniment to the rich style of the original ornament, and so we created this Garnet design for our Silver Filigree Collection.