Aberdeen University's acclaimed binder commissioned to bind book for Kofi Annan

Aberdeen University's acclaimed binder commissioned to bind book for Kofi Annan

An award-winning binder from the University of Aberdeen received an unusual request from the Scottish Executive when he was asked to bind a book for Kofi Annan, Secretary-General of the United Nations.

The request came after Mark Ramsden, Head Binder, of the University's Directorate of Information Systems and Services, exhibited some of his prized work in the Reception area of the University in the autumn of last year. Representatives from the Scottish Executive saw some of Mark's bound books when they were on a visit to the University and were impressed with the work they saw.

Mark was commissioned by John Henderson on behalf of the Scottish Executive at the start of December 2003 to bind a book that was to given to Kofi Annan as a gift. The Executive's only request was that the book had to be about Robert Burns, as it was to be presented at a Robert Burns Memorial Lecture held in America earlier this month.

The title of the book Mark chose to bind was, The Complete Poems and Songs of Robert Burns and he was truly honoured at the prestigious invitation. "Just before Christmas I received a telephone call from the Scottish Executive explaining their request which I was delighted to be able to assist with," he said.

"Initially, I spent time doing some research on the Internet which showed me that the colours used in the Burns' tartan were green, black, grey and a hint of red. This gave me a starting point for my binding. I wanted to create a modern image with a suggestion of the shape and texture of the Scottish Tartan and the bold blocks of colour that I used are reminiscent of McIntosh.

"It took all of the Christmas and New Year break to complete and I was anxious to find out if Kofi Annan was pleased with the finished result when the book was presented to him at the Burns Supper in New York. I am pleased to say that the book was well received by Kofi Annan."

Mark is held in very high regard within the bookbinding circle. He is the three times-winner of Edinburgh's National Library of Scotland European-wide Bookbinding Competition and has had his bindings exhibited in the British Library and in the Museum of Bookbinding in Bruxelles.

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