The Gallery Archive

The Book Cover Art of Thomas Watson Ball

[Exhibition ended March 30, 2013]

Welcome to the online gallery.
The real gallery is near Hudson, New York
about 40 minutes southeast of Albany.


Thank you for visiting the online gallery. This was our first exhibition featuring the work of a single cover artist of the Golden Age of publishers' bindings. It features more than 80 cover designs created by Thomas Watson Ball, or attributed to him, and additional variants, for a total over 100 volumes on exhibit and reproduced in color in the catalog. You can now order the catalog of this exhibition.

In the previous four exhibitions on this subject, we showed a total of 1,500 designs by over 140 known designers and many anonymous ones.

The CATALOG of the Third Exhibition is available. The exhibition was acquired by The Boston Athenaeum in its entirety.

The Second Exhibition, with 300 designs, ended November 20, 2008. That entire collection was acquired by The Lilly Library at Indiana University, Bloomington. The fully illustrated catalog of the second exhibition is available in Limited and Deluxe editions and on CD-ROM.

The First Exhibition ended in August 2005, and that entire collection was acquired by the University of Alabama. A beautiful and comprehensive illustrated catalog was produced that included high resolution images of all 500 designs in the collection plus many variants, as well as bibliographic information. Essays by Richard Minsky on the aesthetic and historical aspects of this art form provide several methodologies for collecting these works, and demonstrate that artists were doing work on book covers that was prototypical of art movements that arose decades later.  

The Limited Edition and CD-ROM versions of the first three exhibition catalogs may now be ordered online.  

Please note: I welcome comments and corrections on any of the captions or catalog information! Click on contact to send me a message. 

Right: In the bindery
a Bertrand Frères percussion press is on the left,
 next to a lying press and plough.

Cover by Thomas Watson Ball, 1898.

Click here for information on ordering the catalogs of the three previous exhibitions

Exhibition Archive:
American Decorated Publishers' Bindings 1872-1929 (ended August 2005)
30 Years of Book Art: 1974-2003 (ended July, 2007)
American Decorated Publishers' Bindings 1872-1929 Second Exhibition (ended November 2008)
American Decorated Publishers' Bindings 1872-1929 Third Exhibition (ended June, 2011)
American Decorated Publishers' Bindings 1872-1929 Fourth Exhibition (ended February, 2012)
American Decorated Publishers' Bindings 1872-1929 Fifth Exhibition (ended July, 2013)

To continue the exhibition, click one of the sections or a button

Each section has several thumbnail images and descriptions of the works. You can click on any image for a page about that work, with larger pictures and details. home page

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No photos, descriptions or text on this page may be used without written permission.