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Anthony Dowd Collection of Modern Bookbindings

100 items.

Anthony Dowd was born in Cheshire in 1927, and educated at Birkenhead School, Giggleswick School and Liverpool University.

After service with the Manchester Regiment he qualified as a chartered accountant and was a partner for thirty years in a large international accountancy firm.

He started to buy private press books in 1965, and began collecting modern bindings a few years later. In retirement he took a part-time bookbinding course, to enable him to ‘talk intelligently’ to binders.

The Anthony Dowd collection of modern British bookbindings is one of the finest and most representative collections of its kind. Over a period of thirty-five years, through purchase and commission, Anthony Dowd has acquired one hundred fine bindings by some fifty leading makers. 

Alongside the work of pioneers such as Sybil Pye, George Fisher, Roger Powell and Edgar Mansfield, are to be found important bindings by leading contemporary binders, including James Brockman, Jeff Clements, Paul Delrue, Angela James, Peter Jones, Trevor Jones, Bernard Middleton, John Pearson, Ivor Robinson, David Sellars, Philip Smith, Julian Thomas and Alan Wood.

Many of the books themselves are the products of private presses such as the Circle Press, Fleece Press, Gwasg Gregynog, Old Stile Press, Rampant Lions Press, Tern Press and Whittington Press. The works of artist-maker Susan Allix, who binds her own books, are particularly well represented.

In 2001 Anthony Dowd transferred his collection to the care of the University of Manchester Library: an act of exceptional generosity and public-spiritedness.

Finding aids

Fully illustrated published catalogue, Anthony Dowd, The Anthony Dowd Collection of Modern Bindings (Manchester, 2002).


The John Rylands Library

Using the reading rooms in the John Rylands Library