Skip to content

James Hayday was an innovative book binder of some repute. Born in London in 1796, he spent much of his life in the city, learning his trade with vellum binder Charles Marchant of Gloucester Street.

He then spent a period working as a journeyman and subsequently became an auditor for the Journeyman Bookbinders' Trade Society. For much of his working life, 1833-1861, he traded from 31 Little Queen Street, St Lincoln's Inn Fields, and worked with the support of a network of other professionals in the trade.

This Hayday binding from 1856 is still tight, its illustrations by Sir John Gilbert complete. Although worn in places, it remains a good example of Hayday's work almost 170 years after the event

Hayday believed printed books should be able to open freely and lie flat. He adapted other binding styles of the time to achieve this:

  • Using silks rather than threads, he would sew each leaf of a book along its edge
  • He compensated for the extra thickness created by this by rounding the fore edges more than was considered usual
  • To make the binding tight he dispensed with the ordinary paper backing and fastened the leather covering directly to the back
  • He introduced the "cross" or "pin-headed" grain (now referred to as "Turkey Morocco") to overcome the problem of the leather grain being damaged by the frequent opening and closing of a book

His innovative style became famous and at the height of his popularity books bound by Hayday frequently sold for a premium of as much as 25%. Recognising his talent, Edward Gardner of Oxford Warehouse, negotiated Hayday's services for Oxford Books. William Pickering, a renowned publisher and bookseller of the period, further broadened Hayday's horizons by introducing him to a number of well off patrons.

However, the James Hayday bubble was to burst. He found it increasingly difficult to compete with other binders of the time, who were often cheaper, and on 10th June 1861 he was declared bankrupt.

Below is a selection of books bound by James Hayday. There will be other bindings for each title and other, possibly earlier, editions. The purpose here is to give you a taster so I've also included condition grades where known, and the prices I've seen these books on sale at. Such prices should not be taken too much to heart - as they have not been compared to other similar volumes.

If you need values in US dollars, Euros or a host of other major currencies, a currency converter is included in the right hand sidebar of this page, and another in the footer area.

  • 1840 The History and Antiquities of the County Palatine of Durham, by Robert Surtees, illustrated by engravings of architectural and monumental antiquities, published by Nichols, Son and Bentley, bound in full green morocco, each cover with a broad and elaborate border of multiple gilt roll tools, the spines in seven compartments with six raised bands, in fine condition, £6,707
  • 1841 Amenities of Literature, consisting of Sketches and Characters of English Literature, 3 volume set, by Isaac D'Israeli, published by Edward Moxon, very good condition, all volumes finely bound in highly polished full tree calf, binding signed on the recto of the front end paper, "Hayday & Co." £158
  • 1842 Italy, a Poem by Samuel Rogers, published by Edward Moxon, good condition, bound in full publisher's hard grain dark green morocco by Hayday (stamped), "One of the most prominent bindings from the 1840s is by the highly original and innovative binder James Hayday of London." £613
  • 1842 The Seasons by James Thomson with Engraved Illustrations and with the Life of the Author by Patrick Murdoch, published by Longman, Brown, Green and Longmans, good condition, first of this edition, bound in full red morocco, gilt decorated boards and spine, signed "Bound by Hayday", £99
  • 1842 The Seasons by James Thomson, Hayday Binding with fore-edge painting, published by Longman, Brown, Green and Longmans, in fine condition, £1,578
  • 1842 The Constitutional History of England, from the Accession of Henry VII to the Death of George II, by Henry Hallam, published by John Murray, finely bound, fourth edition, two volumes, contemporary tan full calf by James Hayday for White of London, with raised bands, £125
  • 1843 George Selwyn and His Contemporaries, With Memoirs and Notes, 4 volume set, by John Heneage Jesse, published by Richard Bentley, very good condition, 1st edition, all volumes finely bound in highly polished full tree calf, binding not signed but likely "Hayday & Co." £237
  • 1844 The Poems of S.T. Coleridge, by S.T. Coleridge, published by William Pickering, 5th edition, very good condition, full morocco binding signed Hayday, £25
  • 1846 A history of Greece by George Grote, in twelve volumes, published by John Murray, polished tree calf with gilt rolled border, in good condition, £2,209
  • 1846 So much of the Diary of Lady Willoughby as relates to her Domestic History, & to the Eventful Period of the Reign of Charles the First, fourth edition, by Hannah Mary Rathbone, published by Longman Brown Green & Longmans, a very good full leather binding by Hayday, polished burgundy morocco over bevelled boards, £80
  • 1846 The Poetical Works of Oliver Goldsmith. Illustrated with Wood Engravings by Cope, Creswick, Horsley, Redgrave and Tayler, published by : Longman, Brown, Green and Longmans, first edition, beautifully bound in profuse gilt and full leather by James Hayday, £39
  • 1847 Poetical Works by James Thomson, published by William Pickering, fine condition, in two volumes, bound by Hayday in full green pebbled morocco, £138
  • 1848 Annals of the Artists of Spain - in three volumes, 1st edition, by Sir William Stirling-Maxwell, published by John Ollivier £850
  • 1851 Dancing as a Means of Physical Education: With Remarks on Deformities and their Prevention and Cure, by Mrs Alfred Webster, published by David Bogue & Simms and Son, 1st edition, in good condition, £2,000
  • 1852 Lays of Ancient Rome, by Thomas Babington Macaulay, published by Longman, Brown, Green, and Longmans, very good condition, later edition, contemporary paneled leather with gilt tooling, bound by Hayday, £237
  • 1855 The Task: A Poem by Willaim Cowper, illustrated by Birket Foster, published by James Nisbet and Co, full Leather very good condition, first edition thus, fine contemporary binding of full red morocco leather with elaborate gilt decoration by Hayday & Co. of London, with their signature to front pastedown, £68
  • 1855 The Life and Epistles of St. Paul, in two volumes, by Rev W.J. Conibeare and Rev J.S. Howson, published by Longman, Brown, Green, and Longmans,diced calf by Hayday, black morocco double lettering-pieces, low bands milled gilt, in fine condition, £1,750
  • 1855 The Book of Common Prayer, and Administration of the Sacraments, and other Rites and Ceremonies of the Church, According to the use of the Church of England and Ireland: Together with the Psalter or Psalms of David, pointed as they are to be Sung or Said in Churches; and the Form and Manner of Making, Ordaining, and Consecrating of Bishops, Priests, and Deacons, published by Oxford University Press, contemporary deep burgundy full morocco binding by Hayday, with raised bands and gilt titles to spine, £180
  • 1856 The Poetical Works of Henry Wadsworth Longfellow, new edition, £70
  • 1859 The Book of Common Parayer, and Administration of the Sacraments, and other Rites and Ceremonies of the Church, according to the Use of the United Church of England and Ireland, published by the University Press for the Society for Promoting Christian Knowledge, fine James Hayday binding of full deep purple morocco, small stamp "Bound by Hayday" at lower edge of rear pastedown, spine with five raised bands, £50
  • 1860 Lays of Ancient Rome by Lord Macaulay, illustrated by George Scharf, published by Longman Green Longman & Roberts , new edition, superb full dark chocolate Morocco and gilt binding, bound by Hayday, spine with 4 raised bands and gilt title, £195
  • 1861 Poems by Thomas Hood, published by Edward Moxon & Co., good condition, handsome full leather binding with bookbinder James Hayday's mark to front pastdown, £35