Archive of Elizabeth Greenhill, 1935-1983

Bodleian Library, University of Oxford

Margaret Czepiel

Department of Special Collections
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Archive of Elizabeth Greenhill


Original designs of Elizabeth Greenhill (1907-2006) and others for bindings of rare books and manuscripts, 1935-1983.

Extent: 0.45 Linear metres, 2 physical shelfmarks
Language(s) of Material: English

Full range of shelfmarks:

Broxb. adds. b. 3/1-3/2


Christine Elizabeth Florence Greenhill was born in Paris in 1907 to a family of hoteliers. Greenhill was introduced to bookbinding by Oswald Powell, father of the eminent bookbinder Roger Powell, when at the Bedales School. She then took several art courses in Paris and in London. Having established her own workshop, she went on to become a prominent designer bookbinder and teacher of the art. In 1961 she was the first woman to be elected to the Guild of Contemporary Bookbinders (now Designer Bookbinders), where she also served as honorary secretary and then president. She funded a prize for excellence in gold tooling in the annual Bookbinding Competition. Her work - often on display at national and international exhibitions - included bindings for T.E. Lawrence's Seven Pillars of Wisdom, Sigfried Sassoon's The Path to Peace, Albrecht Dürer's The Little Passion, Sir John Rothenstein's British Art since 1900, Hough Honour's Chinoiserie and The Royal Record, Coronation Planting Committee (owned by H.M. The Queen). Greenhill died in 2006, four months short of her 100th birthday.

Scope and Content

Two cloth-covered boxes with mostly Elizabeth Greenhill's original designs for bindings of rare books and manuscripts, 1935-1983. Each box with gilt and morocco spine label contains some 50 chronologically ordered and numbered folders that include annotated patterns and letterings with occasional related newspaper cuttings, correspdence and material samples. Each folder is labelled with information about the bound volume: author, title, publication details, previous and current owner, commissioner, designer (if not Elizabeth Greenhill), binding material used, date of binding and exhibition details. The folder numbers correspond with the numbers in Elizabeth Greenhill bookbinder: a catalogue raisonné (Frenich, Foss, Perthshire: K.D. Duval, 1986). Out of the 104 folders, 23 are not present (1, 3, 14, 19, 22, 24, 28, 38, 41, 47, 50, 55, 61, 62, 64, 66, 67, 69, 73, 88, 92, 94 and 98).


Purchased from George Bayntun, Bath, in 2009.

Custodial History

George Bayntun Fine Bindings and Rare Books (Bath) acquired the designs from Bromer Booksellers (Boston) when they were selling the collection of Philip (or Phillip) Gould of California (?) in 2004. Gould purchased the designs from K.D. Duval and Colin Hamilton, the editors of Elizabeth Greenhill bookbinder: a catalogue raisonné (Frenich, Foss, Perthshire: K.D. Duval, 1986).

Preferred Form of Citation

Oxford, Bodleian Library [followed by shelfmark and folio or page reference, e.g. Broxb. adds. b.3].

Bibliographical References

Elizabeth Greenhill bookbinder: a catalogue raisonné (Frenich, Foss, Perthshire: K.D. Duval, 1986)

Personal name(s) (NCA Rules)

Greenhill | Elizabeth |1907-2006 | artist


20th century
Fine bookbinding -- England -- 20th century

Descriptive List

'Elizabeth Greenhill bookbinding designs'
Date: 1935-1970
Shelfmark: Broxb. adds. b.3/1
Language(s) of Material: English
Extent: 1 box

'Elizabeth Greenhill bookbinding designs'
Date: 1970-1983
Shelfmark: Broxb. adds. b.3/2
Language(s) of Material: English
Extent: 1 box

Transformation from XML (EAD 2.0) to HTML
09 August 2017