Sixteenth Century Finishing Tools - France

Du Saix Master c.1538

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(click on this image to see a 300 dpi enlargement)

Du Saix Master binding found in the Montpellier Bibliotheque municipale.

Fortunately a good friend alerted me to this ultra rare Du Saix Master binding, really you have to have a sharp eye open to notice this as something other than just another Grolier binding by Picard or the Fleur-de-lis Binder. Here is what I was looking for, the corner fleuron that was missing from the last binding, that is so prevelent in the Picard bindings, Nixon's C. de P. 1 evolved from EF.19. In fact it was a surprise that it was missing from the first binding. Here we have four examples however not one is perfect. Still we can construct a composite model to get a good idea of what it must look like. This we can use for comparative purposes in the following diagrams.

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Comparative Diagram 1 - Four Du Saix Master imprints and a composite reconstruction.

(click on this image to see a 600 dpi enlargement.)

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Comparative Diagram 2 - Fleur-de-lis Binder EF. 19 vs Du Saix Master composite c.1538
vs Jean Picard C. de P. 1 c.1540 vs Nixon 1965 rubbings

(click on these images to see a600 dpi enlargements)

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Comparative Diagram 3 - Nixon's solid tools C. de P. 1, 2, 3 ,4
vs Jean Picard imprints
vs Du Saix Master imprints c.1538
vs Fleur-de-lis Binder imprints c.1536
vs Nixon 1965 rubbings EF. 19 and EF. 7.

(click on this image to see a 600 dpi enlargement)

In Comparative Diagram 2, we see that there is very little difference between these tool imprints however Du Saix Master has copied so well the tool of the Fleur-de-lis binder that you cannot really see any difference. Certainly without magnification you would guess that these imprints have been made with the same tool. Picard's model is easier to identify with a more distinctive tail. Tool number 2 is more mysterious, while Du Saix Master has copied most other tools to perfection, this one he has not. We see however that Picard has copied the Du Saix models more than the Fleur-de-lis Binder examples, with the possible exception of tool 4. What was really going on here I wonder. Armed with these diagrams you will now find it easier to identify the bindings of Du Saix Master, really it's easy as long as he includes his signature fleuron, shown below in Comparative Diagram 4.


Comparative Diagram 4 - Du Saix Master imprints enlarged to 600 dpi..

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