The tradition of fore-edge painting on books goes back centuries in England. It was once the mark of the Queen’s Binders to hide a beautiful and tiny masterpiece within a prized book and there was only one way to view the painting, much like a sophisticated version of a flip book.
A secret hidden image is painted just above the edge of the pages of a book and the actual edge is either painted in gold or emblazoned with a marble pattern. When closed completely the book looks normal, but when fanned out a hidden painting emerges. Skilled artists in the field can even produced two paintings going different directions!
There is only one such painter, Martin Frost, still commercially active in England and he paints on everything from antique Shakespeare volumes to Harry Potter books. Today, even modern versions have significant monetary value. Have a look at how this dying art form is achieved in the video below.