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Glenn Bartley

Glenn Bartley


Glenn is a professional bookbinder and gold finisher who trained at Guildford College and in Oxford. He established his own workshop in Culham, Oxfordshire in 1991, and has taught widely for both Designer Bookbinders and The Society of Bookbinders as well as presenting at conferences. Glenn was elected a Fellow of Designer Bookbinders in 1999. He won the Mansfield Medal in the Designer Bookbinders Bookbinding Competition in 1996, and the Society of Bookbinders Fine Binding First Prize in 2005.

His work is in many collections, both private and public, in the United Kingdom, USA, Canada, South Africa, France and Germany.

After 26 years of self-employment, in March 2017 Glenn embarked on a new venture as Bookbinder at The Royal Bindery in Windsor Castle. Within two years he was promoted to the position of Senior Bookbinder and subsequently Head of the Royal Bindery during which time he was instrumental in the success of the Queen’s Bindery Apprenticeship Scheme until its untimely suspension due to the Covid19 pandemic.

Glenn has responsibility for the care and conservation of books and manuscripts in all areas of the Royal Collection Trust. He continues to pass on his bookbinding skills and knowledge to a pair of promising Junior Bookbinders in his team, and to make design bindings, when time allows, in his own workshop.

– Milton’s Poems – in 2 volumes: Paradise Lost / Miscellaneous by John Milton
Illustrations by William Blake
Published by the Nonesuch Press, London, 1926
Copy 965 of 1450
256 x 165 x 50 & 47mm
Bound 2010
Private Collection, UK

Miltons Poems

Both volumes bound in matching but dissimilar full scarf-jointed crimson and blue Harmatan goatskin; crimson, blue and grey full thickness goatskin onlays in recessed panels edged in raw sienna acrylic. Doublures of grey goatskin; flyleaves of crimson suede and grey silk thread paper. Top edges gilt. Gold and blind tooling.

Black buckram box with felt linings, lettered in gold on grey leather set into recessed panel.

– C by Tom McCarthy
Published by Jonathan Cape, London, 2010
240 x 165 x 34mm
Bound 2010
Collection: the author, UK
Booker Prize Binding 2010

Glenn Bartley 2

Full black Harmatan goatskin; crimson and grey goatskin onlays, some recessed and edged in acrylic. Doublures of crimson goatskin; flyleaves of grey suede and Thai grass paper. Edges airbrushed with acrylic. Palladium and blind tooling.

Buckram box with felt linings. Recessed label tooled in palladium and blind.

– The Long Take by Robin Robertson
Picador 2018
240 x 165 x 25mm
Bound 2018
Collection: the author
Booker Prize Binding 2018

Glenn Bartley 3

Full scarf jointed black and grey Harmatan goatskin; black and grey goatskin doublures with terracotta suede flyleaves; onlays of terracotta and black goatskin; title letters of vellum with printed paper beneath; palladium lettering/tooling; airbrushed black acrylic edges.

Black buckram drop-back box with grey felt linings; terracotta goatskin label tooled in palladium, recessed into spine.

– Life of Pi by Yann Martel
Canongate Books Ltd.
225 x 150 x 37 mm
Bound 2002
Collection: the author
Booker Prize Binding 2002

Glenn Bartley Life of Pi

The Booker Prize 2002 winning novel tells the fantastic story of a young Indian boy shipwrecked and floating in a lifeboat on the high seas accompanied by a fully grown Bengal Tiger, a Zebra, an Orang Utan and a Hyena!

The cover is primarily grey Nigerian goatskin with onlays of orange goatskin and calf
vellum. The five vellum areas are printed with computer technology to represent the boy, tiger, hyena, orang utan and zebra. These were carefully lined with Gampi tissue to prevent them curling away from the boards should there be a change in humidity. The edges of the pages are coloured with an airbrush and silk endbands are hand sewn. Endpapers of Thai handmade silk thread paper. The lettering and tooling are in palladium and black ink. To protect, a buckram covered felt lined drop-back box.

– Salambo by Gustave Flaubert (Translated by Powys Mathers)
Wood Engravings by Robert Gibbings
Golden Cockerel Press, 1931
17/500 copies
256 x 200 x 35mm
Bound 2010
Private Collection

Glenn Bartley Salambo

Bound in full black Harmatan goatskin with onlays of red & grey goatskin. Doublures & flyleaves of Thai grass paper. Top edge gilt. Gold, palladium and blind tooling. Lettered in gold. Grey buckram and felt lined drop-back box.

The design is conceived largely as decorative gold tooling but also conveys the conflict of the mercenary revolt of Carthage. The style of the tooling is reminiscent of French binding design from the 1930s, in deference to the author and the date of publication of this edition.

– The Doves Press
by Marion Tidcombe
8 coloured plates, numerous black & white text illustrations
The British Library/Oak Knoll Press – London and New Castle 2002
285 x 225 x 36 mm
Bound March 2017
Private Collection: UK
Doves Press detail

A collaborative project with James & Stuart Brockman who bound the two other volumes in Marion Tidcombe’s ‘Doves Set’.

Full dark green Harmatan goatskin, with crimson and dark blue onlays. Gold and blind tooling, gilt edges and marbled endpapers.
Black quarter goatskin drop-back box lettered and ruled in gold; black velvet linings.
Original case binding and dust wrapper saved and housed in box.

– Brave New World by Aldous Huxley
The Limited Editions Club, New York, 1974
Gravures by Sara McAfee
270 x 198 mm
Bound 2000
Private Collection, UK
Glenn Bartley Brave New World

Blue and grey goatskin with onlays of airbrushed natural calf; goatskin and airbrushed calf doublures; suede and Japanese paper flyleaves; edges gilt before sewing; gold and blind tooling.

The colours chosen for this binding reflect the typography and illustrations in the text, and hint at the ‘cold’ and frightening subject matter, but also at the glimmer of hope that is ultimately crushed.

The cover is made up of three pieces of leather scarf-jointed together, the onlays applied to the central grey area, back pared and the whole assemblage then applied to the book. A fair amount of accuracy and planning is obviously required for this method to be successful.

When appropriate to the design I like to title my bindings. This is a good example of how it would have been inappropriate to have lettered in gold – the blind tooling serves the purpose without distracting the eye from the overall design.


Email: glenn.bartley@btinternet.com
Accept Commissions: No