The Lost Art of Fore-Edge Painting




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The Lost Art of Fore-Edge Painting

Discover this unique practice and the talented artist, Martin Frost MBE who endeavours to keep this time-honoured craft alive. We had the pleasure of hosting him at our Letts of London store at the Goodwood Revival this year, where he astonished customers with his vanishing book bound masterpieces.

Martin Frost MBE

An artist in the making, Martin was born into an extremely creative family. His father was a portrait painter and his mother managed an art store. He began his career in theatre design at Glyndebourne, working on large scale backdrops and costumes. Eventually he found his niche when a friend introduced him to the lost art of fore-edge painting and the possibilities of working on a smaller scale. Forty-eight years later, his dedication to refining, developing and promoting the craft was awarded with an MBE in the 2019 New Year Honours list by H.R.H Queen Elizabeth at Windsor Castle.

Martin Frost MBE

A Vanishing Masterpiece

The art of fore-edge painting is a unique and traditional English book craft with a history that is centuries old. A vanishing fore-edge painting is where a book manipulated in a vice, has its pages carefully painted while they are positioned in a steep incline. This masterpiece then vanishes when the book is relaxed thanks to the carefully gilt or marbled edges. When the book is fanned again, it magically reappears, making it the perfect way to add sentiment or a unique message to any bound book.

Fore-edge Painting

In Support of Craft

Letts of London is dedicated to supporting time-honoured crafts, such as fore-edge painting. With third generation craftsmen in our own UK factory we see the value in ensuring these traditions are passed down for future generations to enjoy. With countless customers leaving Goodwood astonished by these beautiful hidden paintings, hopefully less people will be foolish enough to judge a book by its cover.


To see more of Martin's work, visit foredgefrost.co.uk or follow him on Instagram @foredgefrost1

Fore-edge Painting
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