Romanesque Style Binding and Clasp

2009 April 1

Clasp IV: Originally posted on , 2003

This book, in wooden boards, covered in green suede, is patterned after a Romanesque binding and illustrates a Romanesque style clasp.

Romanesque style book with clasp

Romanesque style book with clasp

In a historically accurate model, the strap would not be attached to the rear board of the book with a brass cover plate. More likely, the strap would have been set into a recess in the board itself, underneath the covering material, and would extend out from under the covering through a slit at the fore-edge. There probably would have been two clasps which may have fastened onto the book front to back, rather than back to front as is shown here.

This hinged brass clasp design in this example was derived from an illustration of a bronze Romanesque design in the book Archaeology of Medieval Bookbinding, 1999, by J.A. Szrmai. The illustration showed only one rivet used to attach the clasp to the strap, so that is how I made the model. However, using only one rivet is not very advisable because the clasp would eventually tend to rotate on the strap, rather than remain in a fixed position, creating stress which would ultimately cause a tear in the leather strap.

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