Every nation there has been manifested, in varying degrees, a desire for decoration ; and the objects selected for ornamental embellishment, together with the type of decorative design employed, afford an indication of the character and pursuits of a nation no less than of the position
it has attained in artistic achievement. The desire that books should be made beautiful is of great antiquity. Evidence of this is to be found amongst the most ancient civilizations : for example, an Egyptian papyrus is preserved in the Louvre at Paris containing a description of funeral
rites pictorially adorned in colours, and embellished with gold.
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