Special Collections book featured in Inside BU

The Book of Common Prayer, with its disappearing fore-edge painting of the ruins of Byland Abbey, North Yorkshire, is stored in the Special Collections section of the Glenn G. Bartle Library.
Photo by Jonathan Cohen
Book reveals rare fore-edge painting
Beth Kilmarx, curator of rare books at the University Libraries, was going through the Special Collections closed stacks one afternoon last December when she came across an unusual looking book.
Kilmarx noticed that the book’s fore-edge, the side opposite the book’s spine, was a shade darker than the other edges.
“I saw the discolored gilt edge,” Kilmarx said, “and when I bent the leaves to find the cause of the coloring, I saw the painting!”
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