Okay, maybe dirty is the wrong word. How about that phrase that book dealers love - "well loved". Here's a well-loved Bible printed in Switzerland in 1780. What does this have to do with illustration? Well, it has illustrations by Swiss engraver Samuel Gysin. Gysin was born in 1786, so he either perfected time travel, or (more likely - alas!) he inserted these engravings into his own personal bible. But there's another illustration connection - Gysin assisted Sennefelder, the guy who invented lithography around 1796. Lithography is directly responsible for the huge boom of illustration that occured starting in the mid to late 19th century. All those killer posters by Cheret, Mucha, Grasset, Bradley, the Beggerstaffs, Taulouse-Lautrec, et al? Lithographed, son.
This now belongs to a friend/neighbor - Werner Schulz - Gysin's descendant. He's asked me to restore the binding so he can donate it to a museum in Switzerland. The thing is beat, but I'm slowly excising the worst of the decay and rebuilding. I have to make new straps and brass clasps. The decayed shreds of the old straps were held on with tenacious hide glue and hand-forged iron tacks, clinched through the old wood boards.