Sunday, May 9, 2010


I've been working really hard on our wedding invites and came upon these while researching flowers. Xylotheque means 'wood library.' Basically, pieces of wood cut into the shape of books with inscribed binding and set together to give the impression of a row of books. Such wood libraries flourished in the 1800s. What's even cooler is that some were taken a step further and turned into hinged boxes and would hold specimens of dried leaves, flowers, roots, fruits, seeds and twigs. Pretty neat-O.


  1. how strange!! What was the initial though behind it? Was it anything to do with status? Like having the appearance of having a library had sonotations of being educated and upper class? I love the idea of using them to press flowers!

  2. This is amazing! I think I need to buy a new book shelf

  3. They were initially assembled by furniture manufacturers to show wood options to clients (the Kings, Dukes, and wealthy of the day who were ordering custom made, very ornate furniture for their estates and castles).

    The International Wood Conservation Society (US) today offers for sale their Wood Specimen Kit (up to 80 book-sized polished wood slabs to chose from). The woods offered by IWCS today are far more extensive than those offered in the 1600 and 1700s when these so-called Wood Libraries were compiled.

    Botanists and other early scientists also embraced this system of presentation for research purposes. There are many things to be learned from a sample. See Xylotheque by Wikipedia for a description of the scientific gleanings taken from just one sample