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COMPARATIVE IMPLEMENTOLOGY

French Decorative Bookbinding - Eighteenth Century

Pierre-Paul Dubuisson (fl 1746-1762) - Plaque Inventory

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The elaborate decorative gold tooling of the binding shown above has not been accomplished by the application of many small individual tools, but instead, has been imprinted by the use of a single large plate or 'plaque'. The invention of gold tooling by plaque is often attributed to Pierre-Paul Dubuisson and his father, Rene, who specialized in the binding of almanacs. This example of a Dubuisson plaque binding is found in the British Library Database of Bookbindings, Shelfmark c154e8, Contes mis en vers par un petit-cousin de Rabelais, Paris 1775.


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



I have chosen this example to start this inventory as it is one of the few examples that I have found in colour that is close to the typical red morroco leather of the period. With a publication date of 1775, it is obvious that Dubuisson did not make or decorate this binding. His plaques appear then, to have still been put into use many years after his death. The best source of high quality images of plaque decorated bindings is the 1910 Paris publication entitled LIVRES DANS DE RICHES RELIURES by Édouard Rahir. This folio sized auction catalogue of 96 pages and 50 full sized plates is a mine of information, describing with prices 378 lots. On page 52 we find lot 184, this consists of a collection of 12 Royal Almanacs. Each decorated by the use of a different plaque.


Lot 184 text

Following this list we find three full paged plates embellished with excellent high quality, black and white reproductions of these bindings. These are numbered 184a, to 184m and I shall present these first with thumbnails linked to a page containing enlargements as well as different examples of the same plaque where ever possible. If I have found a high quality colour image of the same plaque I may use that as the thumbnail to give a better idea of the beauty of these bindings, the linked pages will still include the original Rahir Catalogue item and be linked to further enlargements.


click in the link below to see this model -184a

Plaque model # 184 a
click on this link to see model 184a


click on the link below to see plaque model 184b

Plaque model # 184 b
click on this link to see model 184b


click on the link below to see plaque model 184c

Plaque model # 184 c
click on this link to see model 184c


click on the link below to see plaque model 184d

Plaque model # 184 d
click on this link to see model 184d


click on the link below to see plaque model 184e

Plaque model # 184 e
click on this link to see model 184e


click on the link below to see plaque model 184f

Plaque model # 184 f
click on this link to see model 184f


click on the link below to see plaque model 184g

Plaque model # 184 g
click on this link to see model 184g


click on the link below to see plaque model 184h

Plaque model # 184 h
click on this link to see model 184h


click on the link below to see plaque model 184i

Plaque model # 184 i
click on this link to see model 184i


click on the link below to see plaque model 184k

Plaque model # 184 k
click on this link to see model 184k


click on the link below to see plaque model 184l

Plaque model # 184 l
click on this link to see model 184l


click on the link below to see plaque model 184m

Plaque model # 184 m
click on this link to see model 184m


click on the link below to see an enlargement


click on this link to see an enlargement



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