Lost on the Titanic: the Story of the Great Omar Binding

Wednesday  9th January 2013 at 2.00 pm

Dominic Riley

Dominic Riley studied Art History at the University of Leeds, and Bookbinding at the London College of Printing. A professional bookbinder, he has lectured to colleges, art centres and antiquarian book fairs in both the UK and USA. In addition, he has curated three bookbinding exhibitions in San Francisco, and organised a variety of weekend workshops and training seminars. His many published articles include those written for The Ampersand, The Bookbinder and The New Bookbinder. He also served as editor of Gold Leaf, the journal of the Hand Bookbinders of California from 1993–1998.

When it was completed in 1912, the Great Omar was the most elaborate and opulent binding ever created. It was embellished with over one thousand jewels, five thousand leather onlays and a hundred square feet of gold leaf. It took a team of craftsmen over two and a half years to make. It went down with the Titanic.

This lecture tells the story of the Great Omar and the renowned bookbinders, Sangorski and Sutcliffe, who were known for their fabulous jewelled bindings. We hear the moving story of life after the Titanic tragedy, and of one young man in particular, who decided to recreate the binding.