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Richard Beadsmoore

Richard Beadsmoore


After taking early retirement from the BBC, Richard continued his bookbinding training with Kathy Abbott for 5 years at City Lit and then with Mark Cockram at Studio Five. After winning third prize for Fine Binding in the Society of Bookbinders International Competition in 2013 he was elected as a Licentiate of Designer Bookbinders in 2016. In 2017 he won the Harmatan Leather Award for Finishing in the Society of Bookbinders International Competition and in 2017 The Clothworkers’ Prize for Open Choice Book in the Designer Bookbinders Annual Competition.

He spends his time making fine bindings for competitions and for commissions from private clients. He has exhibited at the British Library in London, The National Library of Scotland in Edinburgh, The Bodleian Library in Oxford, The Grolier Club in New York, The Grand Palais in Paris and the Duoyun Bookstore in Shanghai. He has bindings in public and private collections in Europe, USA, and China.

“My designs are very much text driven and I very much enjoy researching and working on designs which tend to be abstract and often incorporate gold tooling.”

Richard became a Fellow of Designer Bookbinders in 2022.

The Revelation of Saint John the Divine
Illustrated by Frances Clayton
Faber and Faber Ltd, London, 1931

Bound with asymmetric boards in black goatskin with exposed core endbands. The endpapers and doublures, based on Durer’s ‘Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse’, are printed with added acrylic paint and collage. Carrying on the theme of the Apocalypse on to the covers there are four panels symbolising pestilence, famine, war, and death. Materials used include snakeskin, fish skin, vellum, eggshell, wood, locust wings, ball bearings, and 23.5 carat gold leaf.

Happy Abstract by William Blake
Illustrated by Richard Beadsmoore
Russell Maret, New York, 2019
220 x 165 x 17mm
Bound in 2019
Private collection, USA

The text of this letter was specially printed as the set book for the American Academy of Bookbinding Open/Set Competition, 2019.
A single line of the letter is printed on each double spread leaving space for the binder to create their own response to the text – the letter is an apology to a client for not finishing the commission as he keeps getting side-tracked by “happy abstractions”.

The text has been illustrated with watercolour pens then bound in the style of the French binder Jean de Gonet. The boards are covered in fair goatskin that has been airbrushed, as has the spine leather. The straps are yellow goatskin with red leather decoration. The tooling is 23.5ct gold, palladium, and black ink.

Awarded Highly Commendable for Tooling, Open/Set, 2019

A Shropshire Lad by A. E. Housman
Wood Engravings by Nicholas Parry
Tern Press, 1990
Number 138 of 225, signed by Nicholas and Mary Parry
Bound in 2016

The book is untrimmed and bound in grey Harmatan goatskin. There are hand-sewn silk endbands and the top edge is treated with graphite. The endpapers and paper doublures are air-brushed with a leaf design.
The stylised trees are tooled in 23.5 carat gold and Caplain – an alloy of 80% gold, 4% silver and the remaining 16% a mixture of palladium and platinum. It won’t tarnish and is more expensive than gold! The ‘stones’ are irregular pieces of board covered with hand-dyed leather.

The design of the binding was inspired by the poem “Bredon Hill” with its landscape of oak trees and dry-stone walls. In the summer (the back board).

“My love and I would lie
And see the coloured counties
And hear the larks so high”

But then winter comes (the front board), and the writer’s lover dies

“They tolled the one bell only
Groom there was none to see
The mourners followed after
And so to church went she
and we are plunged into a world of grief.”

Winner of the Harmatan Leather Award for Finishing, Society of Bookbinders International Competition, 2017

The New House by David Mamet
Rebecca Press, 1989
69 x 56 x 12mm
Bound in 2017
Private collection, USA

This miniature binding was a commission for a private client in the USA. Inlays of various leathers and suedes with black line and gold tooling.

The New House is a poem reflecting on the way old houses are imbued with the spirit of those who have lived there and my design reflects how our lives are a series of doors that we pass through on our journey from birth to death.

The Book I’ve Read Before by Charles R. Ballard
The Limited Editions Club, New York, 1972
166 x 133 x10mm
Bound in 2017
Private collection, UK

The single-section text is sewn with two endpapers of Satogami Japanese paper, the outer one of which is held in position within the cover of slate veneer by six 18ct gold staples.

The text is a poem about the joy of returning to a favourite book instead of the countless new ones vying for our attention and the design plays with that idea as the circle grows and pushes aside the lines. It was partly inspired by the patterns I found in pebbles on a Devon beach. I always carry a notebook with me but the great boon now is the smartphone camera – particularly for those of us who are not very good at drawing!
Once I had worked out the design I used a template of thin handmade paper with the different sizes of pallets numbered to blind tool through onto the stone. Pieces of gold and palladium were then picked up on the tools before being applied to the cover.

The binding won the Clothworkers’ Prize – 1st Prize for Open Choice Book in the Designer Bookbinders 2017 Competition.

Breakfast at Tiffany’s by Truman Capote
Illustrated by Karen Klassen
Folio Society, 2013
230 x 150 x 20mm
Bound in 2013

For Sale: £960.00

The textblock has been sewn on five Pliester tapes with endpapers of red Mingeishi paper. The text is rounded only, as there are only eight, quite thick, sections. The text was then edge-gilded in Caplain leaf and hand-sewn silk endbands added. The text-block was then laced into paste-paper boards and covered in full black goatskin with red and white inlays and onlays. The tooling is done with Caplain leaf.

The design seeks to convey the gradual disintegration of Holly Golightly’s world as “the mean reds” take over and “pearls roll in the gutter”.

A Casual Reader by the Waterside by Lu Hao
Dolphin Books, China
Bound in 2020
Private collection, China

This binding was a commission from the Purple Heron Book Club of Shanghai. As the text is in Mandarin my research was limited, however I knew that the clients were very fond of William Morris so the design is inspired by an 1861 embroidered panel by Morris. The design of sinuous flower stems was then interspersed with falling autumnal leaves to echo the falling water drops of the text.

The back-pared onlays are of dyed leather using leaves from my garden as stencils. The binding was then tooled in 23.5 carat gold.


Email: beady.1@virginmedia.com
Website: https://www.beadybookbinder.com
Instagram: @beadybookbinder
Accepts Commissions: Yes