Victorian 3-Tone Covers; or "Covers Which Belong to the Golden Era of Book Cover Art"
  Explanation and My Thoughts

I have been an avid collector of old books for a long time, and one thing I picked up on was the types of cover which attract me. One style of cover stood up above the rest, but I cant seem to find its proper denomination. As a result, I decicided to give it a name: "Victorian 3-Tone Covers". These are covers from the mid 1800s to the early 1900s, very ornate in style, that tend to use only 3 colours: black, gold and the colour of the cover itself. Sometimes they may use more, but stick to the same overall design style. They tend to feature geometric, floral illustrations, sometimes figures of people or general scenes, with large titles, many times written on scrolls. describes these covers as being part of the "Golden Age of Book Cover Art" which I couldn't agree with more. They died out when around the 1930s when the dustcover became commonplace with book manufacturers. The decoration would then move onto these dustcovers but in the process lose the limitations of printing on the covers and with that its charm. When printing on covers returned in the 80s and 90s, they again lost more of their charm: book covers were printed on directly with ink or laser industrial printers and covered in a thin protective layer of plastic, departing from the printing blocks of old.

What this page is, is an attempt to make a repository of covers from this golden era, where graphic designers, bookbinders, illustrators or the curious folk could come and take inspiration from for their endeavours. The majority of these are actually processed in a strange way! I find them on ebay, I save the picture on desktop, transfer it to my mobile, run it through an android scanner app, and return it to the desktop. Others, though in a far lesser number, would be scans of books I already own or scans I have found online.

I have already used some of these covers as inspiration for title designs across some of my pages, like the Plans for the Future of the Website page.

Many thanks to @unrighteousbooks and @thebeautifulbook on Tumblr, for providing me with a supply of good covers that fit this category, that I didnt have to do a lot of post-processing to.

The Repository (90 books and counting)

As always, if you want to contribute to the collection, do feel free to email me at or private message me on Discord at Lord Cap Stasher#6859. Alternativelly, you can join my retro web server, the Retroweb Resort.