In the bookbinding trade, armorial binding is a type of binding that is decorated with a coat of arms. This type of binding was popular in the 16th and 17th centuries and was often used for binding books of law or other official books. The term “armorial binding” can also describe a binding decorated with a coat of arms but does not necessarily have any connection to the bookbinding trade.
There are a few different theories about the origins of armorial binding. One theory suggests that the practice began in England, where bookbinders started decorating their bindings with the coats of arms of their clients. Another theory suggests that the practice began in France, where bookbinders used the coats of arms of the French kings to decorate their bindings. Regardless of its origins, armorial binding became popular in both England and France, and the practice spread to other countries as well.
Arms were often used to decorate the covers of books, but they were also sometimes used to decorate the spines and endpapers. In some cases, the entire binding would be covered in an elaborate coat of arms. In other cases, the arms would be used as a border around the edges of the binding.
This was a popular style of binding during the Renaissance when books were often bound in lavish, decorative covers. Many armorial bindings were created for wealthy patrons, who commissioned them as a way to show off their wealth and status. So they were often used for books that were meant to be given as gifts or used as display pieces. Today, armorial bindings are prized by collectors and scholars for their historical value and beauty.
While armorial binding is no longer as common as it once was, it is still used occasionally for special editions of books.