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Burn and Company (London)

RA Collection: People and Organisations

Bookbinder founded by Thomas Burn in 1781 in Middle Row, Holborn, later moving to No. 37 Kirby Street, Hatton Garden, where he admitted his son, James Frederick Burn into partnership. As Burn and Son the firm obtained a share of the binding of the British and Foreign Bible Society and continued to work for the company for over forty years. However, in 1842 a change in the arrangements of the British and Foreign Bible Society resulted in the sudden withdrawal of their work from the hands of their four binders, leaving Burn and Son struggling to remain solvent. Thomas Burn died in 1843, leaving his son struggling to keep the firm in business.

In 1846 Henry G. Bohn started the “Standard Library.” As his own binder was not able to satisfy the publishers requirements due to other business, Bohn engaged Burn and Company as binder resulting in a large volume of work for the firm. In 1847, seeing that Burn and Son could deal with such large orders, George Routledge entrusted the firm the binding of “Barnes’s Commentary,” and its many volumes and long numbers afforded much employment.

By the 1850s James F. Burns’ son, James Robert Burn became involved in the business, overseeing the introduction of cloth-binding (smooth-washed cloth), and steam driven presses and other machinery needed to enable them to deal with their ever-increasing business. In 1868 William Chapman who had been with the company for many years was taken into partnership. At the same time Mr. Orrinsmith, who had trained as an artist also joined the firm as director of the decorative part of the binding. [Source: The Bookbinder, Vol. 1, No. 5 (November 25, 1887), pp. 68-70

Works associated with Burn and Company (London) in the RA Collection

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Associated books

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