Natural cowhide (inner covering) over wooden boards. Outer covering in natural deerskin, hanging over the three sides of the lower cover; the head and tail edge (front cover) with two brass/leather strap fastenings and brass bosses over onlaid pieces of brown-carmine sheepskin.
Pre-1400 bookbindings are even rarer than manuscripts from this period. Less than one tenth of all manuscripts of the time is still (partly or completely) in its original binding. The binding reproduced on the opposite page belongs to the few known fourteenth-century bookbindings from the present Netherlands.
A Hülleneinband *is a binding with a second covering over the actual covering of the boards. It may be deduced from the original *Hülleneinbände that have come down to us that they were fairly frequently used in an area encompassing notably Germany, Austria, Hungary, Czechia, Slovakia, and the Netherlands. Yet only some fifty have been mentioned in publications. One of the reasons why so few have been preserved is the change in the storing of books. Originally books were stored flat on shelves or lecterns, and their metal bosses thus prevented damage. In the case of* Hülleneinbände *the flaps were an additional protection of the edges. When libraries became more and more extensive, books were put upright on the shelves, originally with their fore edges, and later on with their spines facing the user. In this position the loose flaps on the bottom proved a problem, but a solution was easy to find: take away the second covering with the flaps, which then usually revealed a complete first covering. This binding has an incomplete first covering: only the edges of the boards are covered, and therefore removing the second covering would not have worked. But the book has had a long-standing function in the chapter of St. Servaas in Maastricht, which must have been another reason why it has escaped mutilation.
It has a distinctive beauty because of the patina, acquired by the chamois-like deerskin throughout the six hundred years of its protective duties. Its sturdy size, robust bosses and deerskin outer covering are a perfect match.
Hülleneinband.Maastricht(?), second half of the fourteenth century. Contents: Bible. Limburg (Maastricht?), second half of the fourteenth century. Vellum, 426 leaves, 485 x 343 mm. Provenance: Maastricht collection, 1840. - 78 A 29