These days we tend to store books 'spine out' on our shelves but it was not always thus. This painting (1626-8, by Guercino) of the Italian laywer Francesco Righetti shows him in his library with his law books shelved 'tail end out', with the titles written on the lower edge of the text block.
.:. Portrait of Francesco Righetti (1626-28). Guercino (Italian, 1591-1666). Oil on canvas.The sitter was Francesco Righetti (1595-1673), doctor of laws who served as a member of the city council and as governor of Cento, Guercino’s own native city. Though Righetti would have been only 30 years old at the time, we know he was impressed by Guercino's works and indeed went on to commission at least two other paintings from the artist. He is depicted in his library.