|I wanted to have absolute proof that these were the tools of Antoine Michel Padeloup, commonly called Padeloup le jeune. The best place to find this is in the Bibliotheque National's online collection of Padeloup bindings. I chose the first one on the list because it appeared to have the very tools I was looking for . When you click on the binding images you link to the Gallica digitized image that can be enlarged to 600 dpi, I enlarged the central portion of the binding where we find the all import imprints, above is a screen shot of this enlargement. I did this in fact before my eBay binding arrived in the mail and once it did I was quick to scan the cover at 600 dpi and compare the imprints.|
|Here then is our proof and we do not need to go further than this. Although the BnF imprint example is from 1730 and probably older and not as clearly detailed we can still see corresponding details that are identical. The white arrows are pointing to 2 poorly made pointille cuts that have not completely sectioned the upper edge of the fleuron, the opposed nature of the cuts has left a 's' shaped form instead of two distinct points. The green arrows pointing to the mushroom shaped ornament at the base of the fleuron. The blue arrows pointing to an exceedingly deep and wide cut at the base of the fleuron. These identical details prove that these imprints were made by the same Padeloup tool.|
In the enlargement shown above we can observe a definite edge, this edge is almost invisible in normal lighting conditions. It suggests that the strapwork and other embellishments of the centerpiece are made of small individual pieces of paper thin leather that have been glued onto or into the leather that covers the boards. This exceptional detailing is only one part of what puts Padeloup's work on a level that surpasses almost every other 18th century binder.
|The great mystery of this particular binding is the dentelle and spine decoration, a lengthy search of authentic Padeloup bindings reveals that he did not decorate spines in this fashion with this sort of fleuron. Still it is too early to give a verdict on this, my gut feeling is that these are not Padeloup tools and that the dentelle and spine decoration is the work of someone else.|
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