Fore-Edge Paintings with Biblical and Historical Themes

A fore-edge painting is a watercolor painting that is painted on the edge of a book opposite the spine. Twentieth-century fore-edge paintings are generally hidden underneath the gold gilt that covers the fore-edge of the book. You can only see the painting when the book is fanned open and the edges of the leaves are exposed.

If you are like myself, I didn’t know what a fore-edge painting was until about ten years ago. My reaction to seeing my first fore-edge painting was wow. Who did that painting? How is that painting done? How old is that book? The painting was breathtaking and I didn’t even know this curious art form existed. The unknown artist had painted a picture of the Last Supper. I want to share the mysterious world of fore-edge paintings with you and share with you the unique wooden puzzles that have been created from the images of the fore-edge paintings.

In the book world, the collectors of fine fore-edge paintings are usually left with several questions about the books and the paintings. Most paintings have been done long after the book was printed. The vast majority of fore-edge paintings were never signed by the artist. There are exceptions though. Looking at different characteristics of the paintings sometimes collectors can group certain paintings pertaining to a certain unnamed artist. It’s really like trying to figure out how to put a jigsaw puzzle together. What better way to spread the word of fore-edge paintings than through the images of beautiful wooden puzzles. Our puzzles are unique and the designs come from the watercolor paintings from the book edge. The puzzles themselves deserve an heirloom designation. Each puzzle contains ten to fifteen percent of the pieces being whimsical.

This project of creating these fine hand crafted wooden puzzles with there whimsical pieces and special wooden box would not have been possible without the expert photography by Diane Brown of Foxtale Studios. She has spent countless hours photographing the water color paintings on the fore edge of the books. Michelle Westermeier of Nook Puzzles has done the creation of the design and production of the puzzles. The boxes are designed and produced by Michael Perrault of ExactBuilt. The website was designed and constructed by Jethro Hayman of NEKinfo. The books come from the private collection of Edward and Claudia York. We welcome your comments and suggestions about the puzzles. Our website email is