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Wherein I divulge just how much of a bookbinding nerd I am…

August 2, 2009

I saw the new Harry Potter film a couple weeks ago, and had a bookbinder’s moment:

Whatever the movie, my eyes are instantly drawn to the books. Gandalf may be chastizing Bilbo, but all I’m looking at are the books behind them. So here I am, watching Harry Potter. Harry and Hermione are in the library, and subconsciously I’m examining the books, when I think: “wait–I know those books…” and suddenly I remember that Duke Humphrey’s Library at the Bodleian in Oxford (where I interned last year) is used as the Hogwart’s library in all of the films. Only then did I look at the rest of the library in the film–which would be the logical means of recognizing it in the first place. Anyway, I was tickled that I identified the library by its books.*

I had another moment of recognition during the film, too. There’s a very short scene where the following tapestry is shown:

My roommate (also a book conservator) and I looked at each other right away. This is one of the Unicorn Tapestries–the originals were woven in the late 15th century and now hang in the Metropolitan Museum of Art. In 2001, West Dean college (my grad school) started the ambitious project of reproducing all 7 tapestries. The completed ones are now hanging in Stirling Castle in Scotland (and yes, I did get to see them in person). Read more about the tapestries here, and more about the West Dean / Stirling Dastle weaving project here.

And those are my two nerdy things about the newest Harry Potter film.

*When I first arrived at the Bodleian, my mentor took me across the street to Duke Humphrey’s library for a private tour. She explained to me that many of the books, many of which are 500+ old, were bound at the Bodleian–and back in those days, the books had a specific hash line across the head of the spine to indicate that the books had been bound at Oxford. (I looked for a picture online, but couldn’t find one). Of course the film didn’t show the books closely enough to show the hash marks. I’m sure that the books/environment were just familiar because I’d spend a good amount of time gawking at the magnificent library and its books.

3 Comments leave one →
  1. August 4, 2009 4:36 am

    You are not alone in this. Whenever I am watching a movie and a book appears on screen, my eyes are automatically drawn to it.

  2. September 20, 2009 7:36 pm

    I must confess to recognizing the typeface used in the book of magic that Harry opens in the library. It appears to be “Texas Hero” a face based on the 19th Century handwriting of Thomas J. Rusk.
    http://www.oldfonts.com/texashero.html

  3. Lili permalink*
    September 20, 2009 9:35 pm

    Haha, Jerome. That’s great.

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