French Decorative Bookbinding - Eighteenth Century

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Dubuisson, Pierre-Paul

Armorial des Principales Maisons et Familles de Royaume

Paris, Guerin, Durand, Le Gras, 1757.

This important example of a Dubuisson plaque decorated binding was at one time found at Librairie Clermont. The details of this book are as follows:

Two volumes in-12 (164 x 88 mm). Contemporary red morocco, covers gilt embossed with central arms and gilt tooled Dubuisson plaque. Spines with gilt tooled raised bands, compartments filled by central fleur-de-lis surrounded by gilt tooled fleurons. White endpapers decorated with gilt stars, gilt page edges. Custom red box included. An exceptionally fine copy.

This exceptional binding was a special issue created by Dubuisson who, with great care had to redesign his famous plaque with small tools to fit this particular example. The bindings are very rare as very few copies were issued. This dedication copy (to the Count of Saint-Florentin) is enhanced by an armorial frontispiece engraved by Le Mire, with the arms of the Count of Saint-Florentin. The 186 pages recto-verso contain more than 3,000 engraved coat of arms of the original families who were established on the Ile-de-France. With this copy is a proof in the first state of the frontispiece before the text and before the signature of the engraver and two additional proofs, one of which is the ex-libris of Dubuisson (by Eisen) before the text.

Marie-Adelaide (1732-1800) was the 4th daughter of Louis XV and Marie Leczinska, born at Versailles on March 23, 1732. She was intelligent and cultivated and had a useful influence on her father. After the death of Louis XV, she lived with her sisters at a chateau in Bellevue. She departed France in February 1791 with her sister Victoire and went to Italy. She died in Trieste, Italy on February 27, 1800. Her library was considerable (over 10,000 volumes), and was dispersed at the time of the revolution.

Reference: Olivier 2514; Cohen 329

Provenance: Madame Marie Adelaide; Baron Pichon, his sale Paris, 1987 # 14150, cited within the preface to the sale catalog by George Vicaire as one of the gems within the collection; Sir David Lionel Goldsmid-Sterns-Salomons, baron de Broomhill (his sale Christies London June 25, 1986 # 41)

Order-nr. 181

$ 46,500.00

In the details above we find the mention of an ex-libris of Dubuisson and Librairie Clermont have provided us with a picture of it.

Dubuisson's ticket

I know of no other example of this "ex-libris" which is more like a "signature" or étiquette. In fact it is more of an advertisement or publicity page, wherein Dubuisson announces that he is the Kings binder and guilder, in charge binding all of the books in his Bibliotheque (such as the Almanach Royal series).... decorating them in gold, with coats of armes. etc, etc,.... This is an extraordinarily important document for it assures us that Dubuisson himself most certainly bound this particular book. Thus the decoration of the spine and additional small tools mentioned in the description are all very important, (note also the drawer handle roulette)

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Comparative Diagram 1 - Librairie Clermont example vs Rahir 955, and Rahir 213.

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