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Monday, April 5, 2010

Antique Vellum Books & Our Most Exciting GIVEAWAY Ever!!!

Antique Vellum Books have been used as gorgeous accents in extraordinary rooms for years. Vellum is a fine parchment made from the skin of a lamb, pig or calf. Primarily it was used in the 15th and 16th century to bind books. The skins were stretched over boarding in a way very similar to leather. The luminosity, texture and beauty of Antique Vellum has made it a favorite of designers.
(Architectural Digest via Cote de Texas)
Of course Vellum books have always been popular with the wonderful Furniture and Interior Designer Rose Tarlow of Melrose House. Here in a photo from Architectural Digest in 1991 you can see her love of these precious books.
(Architectural Digest via Cote de Texas)
Here is another angle of the same room. Notice the bookcase filled with Vellum books.
(Architectural Digest via Cote de Texas)
A shot of Tarlow's bedroom, notice the stacks of vellum books. Read a wonderful post about Rose Tarlow and her design aesthetic by Joni Webb of Cote de Texas here.
(Cote de Texas)
Above is a beautiful room from Antique Dealer and Design enthusiast Kay O'Toole. Notice the stacks of antique vellum books on her table. Cote de Texas once again did a wonderful post about O'Toole and her home read more about here.
So imagine my delight when Kym Fraser of 3 Fine Grains contacted me about her new venture into the world of Antique Vellum Books. Apparently, several months before a famous actor had contacted her. He was impressed with her love and knowledge of antiques coupled with her wonderful designer background.
An avid antique collector and design enthusiast himself, he had become the largest collector of Antique Vellum books in the United States. He had designed an exquisite room in his Malibu beach house and filled it with over 800 books. But, unfortunately he was moving and would she be interested in connecting the right designers and antique lovers with these wonderful books for him? It was important to him, that the new owners appreciate the beauty of these rare treasures.
Kym Fraser currently has over 600 of these gorgeous books. They range in age from 1572 - (yes, that is not a typo -books from the 1500's) to the late 1800's. Most books are in written in Italian, French, and Latin, and even some in Hebrew.
The books are varied and all are vellum. Some have ribbed bindings and some flat. Some are embossed in gold and some also have colored leather. Some have marbleized covers and hand painted pages. They are a varied and beautiful collection.
Most books are singular but Kym also has many sets including the most expensive in the Collection - a rare set of encyclopedias from the 1600's. This set of 9 is $13,500.
Of course, they range in price from $150 up - and interestingly the price is not determined by size, but by a variety of markers; including condition, content, outside embellishments, etc.
The photos show just a small sampling of the Vellum Collection.
Perhaps the most intriguing book to me is the one above. Stamped with the date of 1572, this book includes everything that is important to a collector. The book is a collection of the most celebrated passages of Euripides poetry. It has a gorgeous hand tooled cover, and beautiful writing on the ribbed bindings .

Add to that the incredible hand forged metal latches, patina and outstanding condition. This is a very rare book and retails for $5,500.

Here is another book with latches. This beauty is part of Kym's personal collection. She says it reminds her of her beautiful German Grain sacks. Notice the hand painted page edges in blue -Lovely!
Now here is the exciting part!! Kym has offered this wonderful Antique Vellum book to a Willow Decor reader. This book is from 1626 in Venice, Italy. Can you even imagine the Villa it resided in so many years ago??
Written in Italian, the book becomes even more valuable, because of its wonderful condition and the the exquisite flourish on the binding. This antique book retails for over $600.
Here is how to enter to win this antique treasure. Visit Kym Fraser's store, 3 Fine Grains, let me know what other items besides, these wonderful vellum books, that make your heart sing. Leave a comment back here at Willow Decor. For a second chance to win, be subscriber or follower of Willow Decor (you can sign up on the right column).
Next Sunday I will announce the winner! Best of luck!! And a huge thank you to Kym Fraser of 3 Fine Grains for such a generous giveaway. Click here to go check out 3 Fine Grains and then come back and leave your comments. Good Luck!!
(all photos property of 3 Fine Grains unless noted and not to be copied with out permission)

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