Sixteenth Century Finishing Tools - France

l'atelier Simon Vostre 1497

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

In the past few pages we have been exploring the doubtful methods of Jacques Guignard in attempting to promote his theory that the atelier of Simon Vostre produced all the bindings previously attributed to the atelier of Louis XII. A theory that the BnF have embraced sans hésitation. I have reproduced the binding, shown above, from planche 4 of the 1968 article of Jacques Guignard, Premières reliures parisiennes à décor doré, de l'atelier des reliures Louis XII à l'atelier du Maître d'Estienne, ou de Simon Vostre à Pierre Roffet. in Humanisme actif : Mélanges d'art et de littérature offerts à Julien Cain. Paris : Hermann, 1968, t. II, p. 229-249.

In our inventory I have reproduced what may be one of the first bindings from the atelier of Louis XII, c. 1502. It is decorated from top to bottom with a tool that Denis Gid has labeled dc 24. (click here to see this binding). The imprints from this tool are found on virtually every atelier Louis XII binding. Below, in Comparative Diagram 1, I show the dc 24 imprints compared to imprints found on the atelier Simon Vostre binding in Guignard's 1968 planche 4, they are obviously not the same.


Comparative Diagram 1 - Ateilier Simon Vostre vs atelier Louis XII imprint type dc 24, Gid 1984 pl. 4 Tomb II,
(imprints shown enlarged to 300 dpi at 100% scale)

I find it rather odd that Guignard did not notice this obvious discrepancy. In his planche 5 and 6 he presents two more examples of bindings that he claims derive from the atelier of Simon Vostre , he notes that they both have been decorated with similar roulettes, however these roulettes have never appeared on any atelier Louis XII binding! One wonder what his message was by presenting these bindings? Below is a copy of Guignard's text concerning these bindings where he further admits that the roulettes found on these Simon Vostre bindings are not the same as those found on the Linacre bindings. What do we learn here? Guignard claims that the atelier Louis XII bindings were all produced by the atelier of Simon Vostre and then presents three Vostre examples that have absolutely no relationship with the Louis XII bindings, not a single common tool! After this not very convincing evidence what can he tell us next?


I have detailed on a previous page planche 7 and 8 where Guignard has had to invent bogus evidence, of a Simon Vostre connection to the Louis XII bindings. While on another page I show that he employed the same unscrupulous methods to promote this same theory in 1966. In all this we must be very puzzled to learn that the highest authorities such as Anthony Hobson, and the Bibliothèque nationale de France have accepted the Guignard theory and now assign the Louis XII bindings to the atelier of Simon Vostre. Where is there any evidence to support such a theory? In the next few pages we are going to search for it, bearing in mind however an old adage that says, only a bogus theory is supported by bogus evidence.

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Comparative Diagram 2 - Planche 5 and 6, J. Guignard, 1968.

(click on these bindings to see an enlargement)

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