In 1929, the book publisher George Macy founded The Limited Editions Club (LEC), an imprint tasked with publishing finely illustrated limited editions of classic books. In the years to come, Macy worked with artists like Matisse and Picasso, and photographers like Edward Weston, to produce books with beautiful illustrations on their inner pages. And sometimes The Limited Editions Club even turned its design focus to other parts of the book. Take for example this 1946 edition of Edward Gibbon's The Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire and its pretty amazing spine design.
Created by Clarence P. Hornung, the design captures the essence of Gibbon's classic, showing Roman pillars progressively crumbling as your eyes move from Volume 1 to Volume 7. George Macy later called the collection, which also features illustrations by the great 18th-century printmaker Giovanni Battista Piranesi, “the most herculean labor of our career.”
If you'd like to support Open Culture and our mission, please consider making a donation to our site. It's hard to rely 100% on ads, and your contributions will help us provide the best free cultural and educational materials.