The Scrap Album - Site Guide

Blue album cover with passion flower design

In the early nineteenth century beautiful albums of high quality were produced having elaborately hand-tooled leather covers, engraved clasps and brass locks.

Other albums and scrapbooks had blind embossed covers carrying intricate designs of great detail, spines tooled in gold decoration, pages with gilt edgings and pretty end-papers to excite interest in the most genteel of young ladies.

In the final decades of the century these gave way to highly decorated covers, in great and wonderful variety, carrying fancy designs and colourful illustrations as in the album shown above.

The high quality of paper used was for the mounting of prints and lithographs or thicker paper was provided for drawings and water colours. Others had decorations printed or blind embossed onto the pages with blank spaces in the shape of circles, ovals or squares where small scraps or prints would be pasted into.

Early scrap albums were prized possessions, intended to be handed down through the family over many generations, whose purpose was for the recording of personal mementoes, poems, religious texts and contributions from friends and family.

The hand-coloured lithographs on the next page are examples of album frontispiece prints in which the title involves a pun or play of words on the word “scrap”.

  • “If you have neither picture nor poem to contribute to your friend’s album, perhaps you could give a well-pressed spray of pretty seaweed, or some leaves, or bouquet of gracefully arranged flowers and write your initials and the date underneath them.”
  • Answers to Correspondents
  • The Girl’s Own Paper
  • March 1887
  • Detail of album page of pressed grasses 1883
  • Detail from album page
  • Pressed grass, leaves and flower
  • Lands End & Logan Rock
  • July 9, 1883

The Album

Album page of scraps Album page of scraps Album page of scraps Album page from circa 1835 album
    Top three pages
  • Album pages exhibiting the best manner of arrangement using richly embossed scraps and prints produced by chromolithography.
  • Circa 1880
  • Bottom
  • Album page, arranged around a central engraving, using plain and hand-coloured lithographs and cut-out anecdotes and conundrums from contemporary magazines and journals. Numerous leaves, in this album, bear the watermark “G H Green 1830” and “Dobbs & Co”. Circa 1835

Albums & Scraps
Saint Valentines Day
Easter & Fairyland
Christmas & New Year
Printed Ephemera