The Splendid Book Design of the 1946 Edition of Gibbon’s Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire

decline of roman empire

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.”

Find more information about this 1946 edition here, or even buy a copy here. Also feel free to download a different edition of Gibbon’s classic from our Free eBooks and Free Audio Books collections.

Dan Colman is the founder/editor of Open Culture. Follow us on Facebook, Twitter, Google Plus and LinkedIn and  share intelligent media with your friends. Or better yet, sign up for our daily email and get a daily dose of Open Culture in your inbox.

via @Pickover

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