End Papers

Gaspard and Lisa 1999Do you have books on your shelves or your children’s shelves with lovely, artful end papers?  I have interests in bookbinding and children’s book illustrations and story writing, so I thought I would focus this post on the part of a book called the end papers.  These are usually found just inside the front and back covers with one side glued down and the other loose.   End papers range from plain white to solid colors to patterns to artwork.  Fancy end papers are usually found in picture books, gift books, and The Classics.

I invite you to take a tour of your house to see what treasures you already own.  Here’s a few of mine.  I’ll give a guess at the art medium used.

First, the above page is from the children’s book Gaspard and Lisa at the Museum by Anne Gutman and George Hallensleben (1999 France/2001 USA); Borzoi Book by Aldred A. Knopf.  (Paint:  oil or acrylic)

Little Ones 1935This delightful drawing, in colored pencil and maybe Conte crayon,  is from 1935, Little Ones by Dorothy Kunhardt with lithographs by Kurt Wiese; The Viking Press.

My Symphony 1997My Symphony by Wm. Henry Channing, illustrated by Mary Engelbreit, 1997;  Andrews McMeel Publishing.  Mr. Channing wrote this poem of timeless wisdom in the 19th century.   I think Mary uses watercolor with colored pencils or inks to enhance.

King of Wind 1948

This oil painting pulls the reader into the action as soon as the cover is opened.  From 1949, King of the Wind, by Marguerite Henry and illustrated by Wesley Dennis, published by Rand McNally & Co.

Danced in Underpants 2008This lovely end paper is from The Day We Danced in Underpants, 2008, written by Sarah Wilson, illustrated by Catherine Stock, edited by Abigail Samoun, and published by Tricycle Press, an imprint of Ten Speed Press. (The medium reminds me of watercolor but it may be colored markers and there are collage elements of vibrant patterns inside the book.)

Charlotte and White Horse Reprint 1983Here’s another lovely pattern!  This is from Charlotte and the White Horse written by Ruth Krauss and illustrated by Maurice Sendak.  This book first came out in 1955 with a reprint in 1983; HarperCollins Children’s Books.  (I want to say that Sendak used watercolors on tinted paper).  All the text in this small and intimate book was hand lettered.

Unfortunate Events 1999 Here’s a book with the name plate added to the design.  From 1999, A Series of Unfortunate Events by Lemony Snicket, Harper Collins Publishers.  (I’ll guess this design is computer generated graphics)


Paris Spring Picasso 2010Splatter painting  with acrylic or maybe poster paints gives a modern flair to this very colorful and playful book titled Paris in the Spring with Picasso written by Joan Yolleck with pictures by Marjorie Priceman, 2010, Schwartz & Wade Books, an imprint of Random House.

Christmas Carol Reprint 1915From the inside cover of A Christmas Carol by Charles Dickens, illustrated by Arthur Rackham. (Line drawing, ink) 



Macy Balloons FrontI’ve saved the best for last.  My scanner is not big enough, so this is only half of the front cover to Balloons Over Broadway, The True Story of the Puppeteer of Macy’s Parade written and illustrated by Melissa Sweet, 2011, Houghton Mifflin Books for Children.  Melissa Sweet incorporates all types of medium into her elaborate collages.  Here she used pages from Tony Sarg’s book on marionettes, along with fabric, paper, string and wood scraps.

Macy Balloons BackAnd from the back, end paper of the same book:   Here Melissa Sweet has incorporated newspaper headlines and one of the tiger puppet models that she constructed for this book project. Creative, delightful, I can’t say enough about this book.

From single line drawings to elaborate and brilliant mixed-media collage illustrations, the end papers invite readers to open and read.

Please leave a comment and share what you find on your book shelves.  Enjoy!


About Wings of Wonder

Linda Ruddy is a creative with a diverse range of interests in writing and painting. She currently is revising a middle grade novel, and author and illustrating a picture story book. She is an active member of SCBWI, Society of Children Book Writers and Illustrators. Linda has a body of paintings, which form the foundation of her artistic development. This work can be viewed on her website: www.lindaruddyart.com Her recent illustrations are an outgrowth of the style she developed in these paintings. Another passion is sculpture. Linda often uses her figures as models for her art. Linda's blog is eclectic and journeys wherever her muse guides her attention. Her blog address is: www.wingsofwonder.wordpress.com Following the muse, Linda Ruddy
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11 Responses to End Papers

  1. These are just spiff! Thanks for sharing all these beauties.


  2. Wenona says:

    I love how you notice art everywhere, Linda. What an interesting and well-written blog, and the photos of the end pages are beautiful!

  3. What a great idea. I’ll explore this as soon as I get off the computer. Very lovely.

  4. This is a great idea! Lovely images. I shall have to take a look through our books now!

  5. What a wonderful post! You’ve chosen some beautiful pages to highlight. Sadly, its becoming a lost art. I recently make a new journal for my poetry and I spent a lot of time choosing decorative papers for the end papers. It really does give a book its own personality! 🙂

  6. Lovely art on those end covers. Your photos have made me want to go check out my own library! 🙂

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