Review: Hand Bound 18th c. Style Book by Paul McClintock, From Common Hands Studio

Hand made sketchbook with historic marbled paper cover and tooled leather binding – From Common Hands Studio

I recently received a fabulous gift: a hand-made custom blank book from Paul McClintock of From Common Hands Studio.

I had seen Paul’s work at Williamsburg. The marbled covers, each unique, are not only eye-catching, but have a long and fascinating history. In my own memory (which is neither long nor fascinating), I can recall books with marbled paper covers on the book shelves of my grandparents. They always accompanied very old books – often non-fiction, but the occasional classic novel – with yellowed pages and that musty smell of ancient knowledge that is both strange and intriguing.

My book is a blank book, full of good quality paper perfect for sketching and little watercolor paintings, which I love to do in historic locations. Paul makes blank books like this in various sizes with a large choice of marbled papers as well as different leather binding options. In any size, one of these books is a great thing to have for historical reenactments and in-costume events. It’s attractive, accurate, and functional too.

In addition to the blank books, From Common Hands reproduces period childrens books, domestic manuals, instructional pamphlets, novels, political publications, and plenty more, each again with the marbled cover and leather binding options. You can also get hand-cut quill pens, sealing wax, powdered or walnut ink, and beautiful stationary paper. If it’s to do with historic writing and papergoods, Paul has it.

The hand-tooled leather binding is exquisite.

I’m ridiculously impressed with my book. Paul’s work is authentic, skilled, and hand-made, and as should be expected, worth the money. The books will run between $30 – $85 depending on the size and binding, and take about 6 – 8 weeks to make and ship. As an addition to your display or persona, though, they can’t be beat.

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The book comes with an authentic paper label on the inside cover.


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