French Decorative Bookbinding - Sixteenth Century

Fanfare on eBay

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Fanfare binding from the British Library Database of Bookbindings, Shelfmark c66a2,
images courtesy of the British Library

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The discovery of a fanfare binding from this unnamed and little known 16c workshop, in the British Library Database of Bookbindings was a truly great find, for it meant I would be able to resize the binding to its actual size and measure the imprints very precisely, as well as the superior high resolution image quality. Now we can actually see the intimate details of these imprints.

cmpt 1

Comparative Diagram 1 - Bud fleurons, c66a2 vs eBay

In Comparative Diagram 1, I show a corresponding arrangement of bud fleurons, these are so crudely made that they would be hard to copy, and therefore I think we can safely assume that they in fact derive from the same tools. Note particularly the hole at the base of the fleurons, and the thick application of gold.

cmpt 2

Comparative Diagram 2 - spiral fleurons - eBay vs Esmerian #33 vs c66a2

In Comparative Diagram 2, I show what might be the most important comparative identifier for the late 16c fanfare bindings, the center fleuron of the spirals, the green arrows indicating a flaw that is found on all examples from this workshop.


Comparative Diagram 3 - triplebud fleurons - c66a2 vs eBay

In Comparative Diagram 3, we see an almost identical arrangement of triplebuds. The crude form of these buds makes them hard to copy, my guess is that they were made by the same tools.

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