Editorial Feature

Signing Off: Inhedited for the Barbican Centre Trust

Words By: Sam Kessler

Inhedited make the finest notebooks in the world. While we’re all for a good debate about such a deliberately contentious statement as that, this is one time where we won’t accept any other claims. It’s not just that the notebooks are well-made; there are plenty of stationery specialists out there who make well-made notebooks. Inhedited’s go far beyond that.

As the name’s approximation of ‘inherited’ suggests, their notebooks are not meant to be scribbled in and discarded. They’re not meant to be discarded at all; they are future heirlooms that, once filled, are to be set to one side and kept for posterity. They’re like very, very personal collectors’ items.

Nothing however makes a collectors’ piece more valuable than a good signature. A work of art is nothing without the artists’ signatures and even a magazine can become covetable with the cover star’s autograph across their picture. Imagine then if something as beautifully made as an Inhedited notebook also held the signatures of some particularly important thespians. Now imagine if there were eight of them.

The purest expression of what they do, Inhedited’s set of eight manuscript books combines design, quality and the wonderfully archaic art of writing in one exquisite set. It’s an impressive visual statement, right down to the slanting line of gilding across the pages. Recently however it’s become even more so with the inclusion of a set of signatures from Tom Wilkinson and friends.

Across the eight books a total of 16 stars as well as Wilkinson himself have donated their signatures. Emma Thompson, Colin Firth, Bill Nighy and Imelda Staunton show a strong British contingent while Forest Whitaker and Gillian Anderson provide some stateside heft to the roster. It’s a remarkable list of names preserved in a fittingly elegant set of notebooks. More than that, it’s for a good cause.

The signed set of eight books has been created for the Barbican Centre Trust, a charity devoted to inspiring more interest in the arts. It’s evidently something close to the hearts of many of the actors, writers and musical artists that signed but is also something reflected in Inhedited themselves.

Inhedited are one of the few companies in the world to still use a number of traditional crafts that would have otherwise died out, the least of which is gilding. Their paper, the leather covers, even the marbled effect on the inside covers help keep a number of niche trades alive, crafts that would otherwise have been relegated to obscurity. If the 17 signatures held on the inside covers aren’t enough to pique your interest, the sheer beauty of the books should be.  

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