Collection of book bindings

The collection of occidental book bindings spans a period of over a thousand years, encompassing bindings from the outset of the Middle-European book culture to the time of the Carolingians, up to artists' books of the 20th century.

The collection of book bindings includes prints with valuable, historically or artistically important bindings from the historical collection groups, which are preserved separately, bearing the classification mark "ESlg/" and the formerly allocated classification mark.

The collection was built up by Otto Glauning (1876 – 1941) starting in 1905. Today, it encompasses over 5,800 works from the 16th to the 20th century, documenting the European art of book bindings in various stylistic periods, as well as the local peculiarities of individual book binders' workshops.

The focus of the collection of book bindings is on the masters' bindings of Renaissance (Corvinus, Grolier, Mahieu and Fugger masters), as well as Italian, French and German bindings of the 17th and 18th century. In addition, the Bayerische Staatsbibliothek holds a rich collection of early modern book bindings, predominantly from Old Bavarian and Swabian book binders' workshops, which came to the library in the course of the secularisation.

Outside the collection of book bindings, particularly old and valuable, richly adorned bindings can be found predominantly in classification-mark groups of the manuscript collection (Clm, Cgm) and in the incunabula collection, while artistic bindings of the 19th and 20th century are preserved among the collections of painters' books, press prints and artists' publications of the Bayerische Staatsbibliothek, in order to avoid separating individual items from coherent collection groups.

Further special bindings can be found in the classification-mark group "Libri impressi cum tegumentis manuscriptis" (L.impr.c.teg.mss.). This collection group contains printed works with bindings for which handwritten and partially significantly older material was used as lining.
Further information

From around 1954 to 2002, also book covers of printed works from the library's holdings were collected, as of 2002 only selectively. The collection is kept in the chronological order of acquisition, but has not been entered in the catalogue.

Search in:

Subject index of the collection of book bindings of the Bayerische Staatsbibliothek

Rubbings of book bindings of the 15th and 16th century from the holdings of the Bayerische Staatsbibliothek and further institutions:

Book-bindings database (EBDB)  (Further information)

Adorned bindings

As a result of a four-year project of the German Research Foundation (DFG), an online database on Western and Central Asian adorned and luxury bindings from the Bayerische Staatsbibliothek has been available online since 2018.

Database "Prachteinbände"


Außenansichten: Bucheinbände aus 1000 Jahren aus den Beständen der Bayerischen Staatsbibliothek München: Ausstellung anlässlich der Tagung des Arbeitskreises Einbandforschung, 28. August – 15. Dezember 2006. Ausstellung und Katalogredaktion Bettina Wagner. Wiesbaden: Harrassowitz, 2006.

Prachteinbände 870 – 1685: Schätze aus dem Bestand der Bayerischen Staatsbibliothek München: Ausstellung 4. Mai – 4. August 2001. Ausstellung und Katalog: Béatrice Hernad; Redaktion: Ulrich Montag. München: Bayerische Staatsbibliothek, 2001. Schatzkammer. 2001.

Bucheinbände aus elf Jahrhunderten. Ausgewählt und beschrieben von Dr. Ferdinand Geldner ... Mit einem Vorwort von Dr. Gustav Hofmann ... München: F. Bruckmann, 1958.