These 19th Century Books Reveal Secret Paintings When You Flare Out The Edges

Librarian Colleen Theisen who works at the Special Collections & University Archives at the University of Iowa shared these cool fore-edge paintings on the edge of these books from the 19th century.

It’s called fore-edge painting, and it dates back to the early 1650’s.

Basically, it’s a way of hiding a painting/art in plain sight, of which can only be seen when the pages of a book are fanned out.

Why did people do this? No one really knows honestly, but it’s pretty freaking cool! Check it out a few of the 19th century books below.

19th century books by Robert Mudie

It’s almost like magic

books2

books4

These are even more detailed and impressive

Keep up-to-date with University of Iowa’s special collections on Tumblr.