The reproduction shown above is found in a 1997 Christies auction catelogue, Valuable Printed Books, Manuscripts, and Music. Below it we see the item description for this sumptuous binding by Claude de Picques, here we learn something of the history of the Atelier du relieur du roi. Probably this history is well known to many, and has been researched thoroughly by others, however I have decided to tackle it again in my own way to see whether we can discover who's tools were used by who. |
In his 1965 catalogue for the British Museum entitled Bookbindings from the Library of Jean Grolier, Howard M.Nixon reproduced 9 bindings with hatched tools, he presumed on the information available in his day that these were the tools of Claude de Picques, however since 1965 we have learned that these were probably the tools of Jean Picart. It is now also believed that Picart left Paris in a hurry in 1547 and left his tools behind in the atelier du relieur du roi where they were kept in use by the next relieur du roi, Gomar Estienne, and or possibly by Claude de Picques. Here is a quick survey of the tools listed by Nixon for these 9 bindings with hatched tools. 94 = C. de P. 59, one hatched tool 69. 95 = C. de P. 24, 27a and b, 36a and b, one hatched tool 69. 96 = with hatched tools C. de P. 12*, 51, 66a and b, 67a and b, 69. 97 = C. de P. 1, 51, 60a and b, 62a and b,63, 67a and b, 69, 73a and b. 98 = C. de P. 51, 60a and b, 62a and b, 63, 66a and b, 69a and b? 99 = C. de P. 51, 55a and b, 50a and b, 62a and b, 63, 66a and b, 68a and b, 69, 70a and b, 73a and b. 100 = solid tools C. de P. 1, 2, 3, and hatched tools 51, 62a and b, 63, 65a and b, 66a and b, 68a, and b, 73a and b. 101 = C. de P. 2,3,4, 51,69. 102 = C. de P. 47, 54a and b, 55a and b, 56a and b, 57, 58a and b, 61a and b, 64a and b,66a and b, 67a and b, 69. 71a and b, 72, 75, 76, 77a and b, semis of triple dots, tool 78, 74 in the border. The last binding in this series is No. 102 it is dated to 1551 and cannot therefore have been tooled by Picart and some the tools found on it do not appear on the other bindings, namely 47, 54a and b, 56a and b, 57 (trefle), 58a and b, 61a and b, 64a and b, 71a and b, 72, 74, 75, 76 77a and b, 78. Perhaps these tools did not belong to Picart but were instead the tools of Gomar Estienne. However certain facts lead me to suspect that this simple solution may not be correct. Of the 19 Gomar Estienne bindings that can be found online in the Bibliotheque National de France, few appear to use all of these tools in fact the most famous and often mentioned, No. 47, is not seen in the bindings of Gomar Estienne. Nor do we see 61a and b, which is infact a conglomerate of two tools, 61a and b and 56a and b. On the previous page, I have shown it as a single tool 79a and b. This is a tool that was used by Claude de Picques but perhaps not Gomar Estienne. |
The binding shown above is reproduced in Anthony Hobson's 1999 book entitled Renaissance Book Collecting I suppose this is his example of a typical Gomar Estienne binding made for Jean Grolier, we see that of the extra Picard tiools he has used No. 56a and b, 57, 71a and b, and a tool which I have classified on the previous page as 80a and b. This tool appears in many bindings that may be the work of Gomar Estienne, perhaps this is actually his own tool. |
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