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Leporello and Concertina Books


The term leporello refers to printed material folded into an accordion-pleat style. Also sometimes known as a concertina fold, it is a method of parallel folding with the folds alternating between front and back. The name likely comes from the manservant, Leporello, in Mozart’s opera Don Giovanni. Famed rogue and lover Don Giovanni (in Italian – also known as Don Juan in Spanish) has seduced so many women that when Leporello displays a tally of his conquests, it unfolds, accordion-style, into a shockingly long list. Many leporellos are used as a way of telling a story, while others are purely visual.

In the Victorian era, leporellos were quite commonly used as travel souvenirs, depicting beautiful, panoramic scenes of the places travelers had just seen, customs and culture of the region and the like. They are often used in illustrated children’s works, as well. Collectors of books and paper ephemera will love their scarcity and delicate beauty.

Here are some examples:

 


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Days in Catland

Arthur Burnaby and Louis Wain

 


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The Story of Miss Moppet

Beatrix Potter

 


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19th century Fruit Tree Salesman’s Sample Books

Various

 


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Batak tree bark Divination Book

 


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Leporello album of Monastic Orders

Author Unavailable

 


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In Bosnien hat der Tod Getanzt (In Bosnia Death Danced)

Heinz Keller

 


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Costumes Suisses (Swiss Costumes)

Author Unknown

 


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Dreaming in Color

Tara Law

 


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The White Alphabet

Ronald King

 


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Costumi Degli Ordini Religiosi

(Costumes of Religious Orders)

 


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Hawaiian Fishes

Author Unavailable

 


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Every Building on the Sunset Strip

by Ed Ruscha

 


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Kleederdragten der Bewoners van Nederland

(Costumes of the Residents of the Netherlands)

 


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Danske Uniformer

(Danish Uniforms)

 


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Alphabet Ancestors

Cari Ferraro

 


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Aeolian Giraffes

Lois Morrison

 
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Beth Carswell

About Beth Carswell

I've been reading, selling, researching, loving and writing about books with AbeBooks since 2000.

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