A Comparative Study of Sixteenth Century Azured Finishing Tools

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A close comparison of the gold tooling of Jean Picard and that of Claude de Picques, reveals an amazing similarity in tool forms, however the work of Picard may actually been executed a decade earlier than that of Picques. These imprints have been extracted from the two bindings shown below (at 100% scale), differences in binding style also suggest that the work is from two different periods.

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Gold Tooling - Jean Picard c. 1540

Images and text from:
The British Library - Database of Bookbindings

Decorative Technique - Tooled in gold, Painted
Style/Type - Interlacing ribbon/strapwork, Azured or hatched motifs
Edges -
Bookbinder - Picard, Jean
Ownership Mark - Grolier, Jean (1479-1565)
Author - MACHIAVELLI Niccolo
Title - Il Principe di Niccholo Machiauello
Place of Publication - Venice
Date of Publication - 1540
Notes - This book was bequeathed by C M Cracherode in 1799. c. 1540, Paris, bound for J. Grolier by Jean Picard, with hatched tools. Volume described by H. M. Nixon (Bookbindings from the library of Jean Grolier, p. 40-50, n. 96); see A. Hobson, Humanists, p. 270, note16; Idem, Renaissance book collecting, Appendix I: Grolier's bindings classified by workshop, pp. 223-229, IV, France, 1538-1547, c) Jean Picard, III) With hatched tools, p. 227. See W.Y. Fletcher, Bookbinding in England and in France, pl. I too.

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Gold Tooling - Claude de Picques c. 1550

Images and text from:
The British Library - Database of Bookbindings

Decorative Technique - Tooled in gold
Style/Type - All over design
Edges -
Bookbinder - Picques, Claude
Ownership Mark -
Author- Alciatus, Andreas
Title - Diverse Imprese accommodate a diuerse moralita, con versi ... che i loro significati dichiarano. dell: Alciato.
Place of Publication - Lyons
Date of Publication - 1549

Notes - XVI th mid century, France, bound by Gommar Estienne or Claude de Picques. Typical for this workshop, the trefoil and three quarter of a circle tools (see Davis 376, Davis 397). For bindings provided with these tools, see A. Hobson, Humanists, p. 191, fig. 160 on text Bartolomeo Marliani, Urbis Romae topographia, Rome, Valerio and Luigi Dorico, 1544, Amsterdam UL, upper cover; Victoria and Albert Museum, London, Bookbindings, p. 43,44,79, n. 30 on text A. Bocchi, Symbolicorum quaestionum de universo genere quas serio ludebat libri cinque, Bologna , 1555.

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enlarged detail
Some of the tools are virtually identical, differences that can be observed in the above illustrations are hardly more than might be related to variations in the amount of gold deposited with each impression. In the above comparative diagram the obvious differences in the two impressions are mainly due to an overlay of gold made by another tool to add an extension to the stem and upper leaf to link this impression with the next. Normally I would graphically remove these 'overlays" to leave only the imprint of a single tool, however in this case I have not manipulated the image. In the image below I have extracted most of tool imprints from the binding of Picques shown above.

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