Two Ornamental Bindings from Brindisi

Recently we discussed liturgical book coverings with a specific focus on those made of fabric that covered the binding of the book itself. In addition to these, however, there is also another tradition which saw the binding itself directly ornamented.

There are many examples of this sort of work of course, but the bindings which we will look at today come from the cathedral of Brindisi and bear the arms of Bishop Antonino Sersale (1743-1750) -- who commissioned the works in question.

These particular works include ornamental fabrics but their primary interest lies in the decorative metalwork that has been made part of the binding itself -- most particularly the prelatial arms.

Bindings such as these remind us that there was a time not so very long ago when no item was considered too small or unimportant to beautify it for the purposes of the sacred liturgy.

Missal cover made by a Neapolitan silversmith ca. 1747-1750
Pontifical cover made by a Neapolitan silversmith ca. 1747-1750

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