Royal binding by Antoine Ruette 1644

click to see an enlargement

The binding shown above, is from the BLDB (British Library Database of Bookbindings) click here to link to the enlarged image. This binding is shelfmarked Davis458. I have copied below the information listed with this binding. No information is give as to what publication is found within this binding however a printing date of 1644 is given. This binding is very important for a number of reasons, the first being the wide assortment of tools used, many of which Antoine Ruette was not using to make a similar fanfares in the 60's

Shelfmark: Davis458
Held by: British Library
Country: France
Period: 17c
Cover Material: Goatskin (includes morocco, turkey etc)
Colour: Olive
Decorative Technique: Tooled in gold
Style/Type: Armorial, Fanfare, Pointille
Edges: -
Bookbinder: Ruette, Antoine
Ownership Mark: Louis XIV, King of France (1638-1715)
Author: -
Title: -
Place of Publication: Paris
Date of Publication: 1644

Notes: Binding reproduced by M. Foot, Les reliures françaises, fig. 3. For other French 17c bindings see Isabelle de Conihout & Pascal Ract-Madoux, Relieures Francaises du 17c, Paris 2002. Macchi states; first century half century, Paris (?), with Louis XIV coat-of-arms. Postfanfare decoration. Attributed to Antoine Ruette. This kind was adopted by ateliers like those of Macé and Antoine Ruette, Maître Doreur, Florimond Badier, Des Caumartin. Binding reproduced by M. Foot, Les reliures françaises, fig. 3.

"Antoine Ruette, the son of Mace Ruette, by his wife Marie Saminiati, was born 5th February, 1609, and received the freedom of the Guild of St. Jean in the quality of a stationer, on the 9th July, 1637. Upon the death of his father, he succeeded to the Office of Binder in Ordinary to Louis XIV."

According to the work of Isabelle de Conihout & Pascal Ract-Madoux, Relieures Francaises du 17c, Paris 2002. Mace Ruette died on the 15th of October 1638; Raphaël Esmerian mistakenly assumed his death to have been much later, around the year 1644.

Thus we are assured that this binding is correctly attributed to Antoin Ruette. I have isolated the tool imprints in the diagram below.

click to see an enlargement
Imprints from Davis458.

From his extensive research, Raphaël Esmerian produced an amazing catalogue of imprints from this period: Douze Tableaux Synoptiques sur La Reliure au XVII eme Siècle, published in 1972. Evidently, Esmerian did not know of this British Library example. His table VI - ANTOINE RUETTE 1640-1669 does not include all the tools used on this binding; however, some of the tools are listed. Esmerian presented his Ruette imprint models as a collection without identifying numbers, I have since added numbers to simplify describing each one.

click to see an enlargement

Comparative Diagram 1, ANTOINE RUETTE 1640-1669, Raphaël Esmerian 1972, Tableau IV, Douze Tableaux Synoptiques sur La Reliure au XVII eme Siècle.

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Comparative Diagram 2, ar-7 vs davis458 imprint

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Comparative Diagram 3, ar-13 vs davis458 imprint (note the antennas and gold dots added)

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Comparative Diagram 4, ar-21a ar-21b vs davis458 imprints

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Comparative Diagram 5, ar-21a ar-21b from Davis463 vs davis458 imprints

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Comparative Diagram 6, imprints from Davis463 vs davis458 imprints, (not found in Esmerian's Tableau IV).

This brings me then to a comparative study of the key binding, Davis463. It can be shown that this binding contains a number of tools which are figured in Esmerian's Table VI - ANTOINE RUETTE 1640-1669

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Comparative Diagram 7, Esmerian imprint model ar-2 vs Davis463 imprint

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Comparative Diagram 8, Esmerian imprint model ar-34a vs Davis463 imprint

comparative diagram

Comparative Diagram 9, Davis463 vs 1659 Ruette binding

In this comparative corner detail we see tools 8 and 15-2 as well as a number of identical rolls and fillets that have been used to create a border arrangement similar to that of the 1659 binding.

Click here to go to the next page Antoine Ruette - Tool Classification

information about the author return to the home page of VIRTUAL BOOKBINDING