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Grangerized Books (Art made from books)

February 23, 2011

A few weeks ago sent me a great vocabulary word for the day:

grangerize \GRYEN-juh-rahyz\

verb: 1. To add to the visual content of a book by inserting images not included in the original volume, often by mutilating other books.

2. To mutilate books in order to get illustrative material for such a purpose.

(Above: Grangerized book by Brian Dettmer)

“He looked up from his reading, ‘An Illustrated History of Sparta,’ which he proceeded to grangerize.”

— Roger Rosenblatt, Beet: A Novel

“If, however, Mr. Lindsay is determined to grangerize his collections, I would suggest that before he does so he should examine the illustrated Clarendon in the Bodleian Library which has the character for being the most magnificent grangerized book in existence.”

— William White, “Regimental Messes,” Notes and queries, Volume 82, 1890.

Grangerize is named after James Granger (1723-1776), an English clergyman whose “Biographical History of England” (1769) included blank areas for additional illustrations.

And more definitions from online dictionaries:

-verb- to illustrate (a book already printed) with engravings, prints, etc. obtained elsewhere, often by clipping them from other books.
-verb- to damage (a book) by clipping such engravings, etc.

(Above: Grangerized book by Yuken Teruya)


A lot of artists these days are using the book as their medium. While I’m not sure all of their work exactly matches the definition of the word grangerize, when I first read the definition, I thought right away of artists such as Cara Barer, Yuken Teruya and the master of book mutilation–uh–grangerization, Brian Dettmer.

I’ve wanted to do a blog post (or individual blog posts) on artists whose medium is books (and paper) for a long time. And while I would still love to feature more artists in this blog, in the meantime there are plenty of great online galleries of grangerizers’ works.

Check out this link, this, this, this, and this (bearing in mind that there are some repeats) for some really great art made from books.

11 Comments leave one →
  1. Dave Fine permalink
    February 24, 2011 1:59 am

    Hi Lili,
    Just came upon your site as I googled the word “grangerize.” If you want to see something really interesting, go to the Antiques Roadshow (PBS) website, click on “Watch Episodes” and then find the “Des Moines, Hour 2” episode, from this year (2011). When it starts playing, jump ahead to about the 22 minute mark. The host of the show and a guy from Christie’s Auction House are at some cosmetics tycoon’s mansion. They are in the library talking about “grangerized” or “extra-illustrated” books. The book they are looking at is a biography of Charles Dickens, first published in 1872, which has been “grangerized” by several owners over the decades. This thing is NINE fat volumes long, and, I’m telling you, it’s one of the coolest things I’ve ever seen (but then I like books!).

  2. Lili permalink*
    February 24, 2011 11:11 pm

    Hi Dave,

    I just watched the link–very fun. Thanks for sharing! Grangerize seems to be a bit of a buzz word right now! ;)


  3. March 11, 2011 8:55 am

    Hey Lili – I’m wondering if you’re in Utah right now or traveling abroad? The reason I ask is the teachers in Utah County are looking for a someone to teach them a bookbinding workshop on April 30th and I immediately thought of you! If you can email me back I can give you more details and who to contact. THANKS!!

  4. March 18, 2011 10:52 am

    Hi Lili

    Wow your book is amazing, the detail is stunning! I like distressing paper, ageing it and making it look more retro or vintage, but this is fantastic.

    Really really well done.

    Best wishes

    Billie :)

  5. Pat Beaumont permalink
    March 19, 2011 3:01 am

    fabulous work

  6. March 20, 2011 9:29 am


  7. December 2, 2011 10:54 pm

    Nothing like a bit of artistic Vanderlism – Love it

  8. Nicola Holloway permalink
    May 2, 2012 10:07 am

    Reblogged this on nicolaholloway and commented:
    Great blog post I’d thought I’d share, from ‘Lili’s Bookbinding Blog’ on Grangerized Books.

    My current project is on Altered Books as a metaphor for Endangered Animals and will be exhibited early June.


  1. Books as art « Binding Obsession
  2. Grangerized A Book Lately? | Brittle Paper
  3. Books as art | Binding Obsession

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