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COMPARATIVE IMPLEMENTOLOGY

French Decorative Bookbinding - Eighteenth Century

Pierre-Paul Dubuisson (fl 1746-1762) - Decorative Tools

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click on the link below to redirect to the British Library Database of Bookbindings

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Please note that all images from the British Library Database of Bookbindings are subject to Copyright
see also Reproductions



On the previous page we have been looking at some important decorative tool imprints found on some of Dubuisson's early Almanachs and other plaque decorated bindings. Both Esmerian and Rahir have proposed that Louis Douceur may have had a hand in these works. So I decided to do a quick search for his name in the British Library Database of Bookbindings. This search turned up two excellent examples, they are Davis 543 and Davis 544. I did not see any of our Dubuisson imprints on these bindings so, it was a bit of a dead end. I then decided to try my last resort which is to check the next Davis examples, i.e. Davis 545, Davis 546, etc. etc... often you will find similar bindings in this sort of search. The higher numbers were not so rewarding, however on my second attempt at the lower numbers I stumbled on a great discovery, Davis 541! This binding is shown above as well as the Database details wherein we find the cryptic note "Is it Derome le Jeune?"

Imagine my joy in finding this binding, here were the exact tools I had been looking for PLUS many more!


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Comparative Diagram 1 - Davis 541 imprints vs Rahir 232 imprints (a, b, c, d, ) and Rahir 213 imprint (e)

I have not assigned any numbering to the imprints in Comparative Diagram 1, nor extracted fully the Davis 541 imprints, due to the fact that the discovery of this 'key' binding has now allowed me to find yet more Dubuisson bindings, where we find even more tools. From my past experience in trying to number imprints, I see now that it will be best to locate as many as possible before committing them to numbers... let us now proceed then, to another fantastic example. On reflection it should be no surprize to find Dubuisson's tools decorating the binding of this next book.


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Armorial des Principales Maisons et Familles de Royaume
Paris, Guerin, Durand, Le Gras, 1757.

Aux armes de la reine MARIE LECZINSKA.

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The reproduction of this binding is found on Plate 40 of Édouard Rahir's 1910 catalogue LIVRES DANS DE RICHES RELIURES, and is item number 217 which is described on page 60.


217 text

Pierre-Paul Dubuisson (1707-1762), royal bookbinder and guilder of Louis XV is now perhaps more famous as author of this book, Armorial des Principales Maisons et Familles de Royaume Paris, Guerin, Durand, Le Gras, 1757. A comprehensive, illustrated catalogue of the Armorial traditions of France, 186 pages recto-verso containing more than 3,000 engraved coat of arms of the original families who were established on the Ile-de-France. One can find the entire work online fully digitized, but before we get lost in all this, I would just like to point out, the importance of the binding Rahir 217, shown above. This binding, unlike most of the Dubuisson examples, has not been decorated with the use of plaques, but rather, it has been tooled in gold with small tools. Smaller in fact than most of those found on the Davis 541 binding. They are shown below in Comparative Diagram 2, at an even greater enlargement (300dpi) than imprints shown above.


Rahir 217 imprints 300dpi

Comparative Diagram 2 - Rahir 217 imprint samples (shown at 300dpi.)

While I was searching the internet for information on Dubuisson's book, I discovered a bookseller with a copy for sale at a price of $46,500.00! This is not just any Dubuisson but a very special copy. We need to look at this very closely for it confirms what I assumed from the onset of these pages as concerns certain small tool imprints serving as important clues to the identification of Dubuisson's work.


click on this link to go to the next page: Dubuisson - The Proof!

click on this link to return to: The Dubuisson Plaque Inventory




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l.a.miller@mail.pf