French Decorative Bookbinding - Sixteenth Century

l'atelier des reliures LOUIS XII et FRANÇOIS Ie
the decorative bookbindings from the workshops of Louis XII and Francis I

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Comparative Diagram 1 - (No. 29) Hugues d'Ambert, Silve.... Paris Gilles de Gourmont, 1516 vs a virtual reconstruction.

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On the previous page we were looking at the chronology of the Louis XII bindings, the last phase of which brings us to the first phase of the François Ier bindings, the binding shown above is important for a number of reasons it shows a continuation of the U tool and the newly arrived emblem of François Ier. When I was looking for examples of the U imprint I thought that the vague imprints shown on No. 29 shown above was probably one, the reproduction of this binding is from Guignards 1966 plate and not great, however after superimposing u imprints I realized that the binding was covered with large border of repeated u imprints. I decided to recreate this decoration and in the process noticed what appears to a floral roulette. There remains only a few sections of this imprint from which to reconstruct the essentials of this roulette. It soon became obvious that this tool has not been recorded by Dacier of Guignard. I present here in the virtual reconstruction of the decoration and below in Comparative Diagram 2 as roulette 1. It might not turn out to be a roulette, there are no roulettes in the Louis XII bindings. Either way this tool cannot be found in Denise Gid's catalogue.

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Comparative Diagram 2 - roulette 1, atellier of Louis XII and François Ier

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Comparative Diagram 3 - Gid 1984 T.II, pl. 63 FLe- FLf (dated) vs roulette 1

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Notice that this binding is on a book printed by G. de Gourmond, Of the 12 Louis XII examples cited by Dacier bindings number 4 and 5 contained books by Francois Tissard printed by Gilles de Gourmond, The first binding contained Liber gnomagyric and three other works by Tissard, s Chrysoloras, Homere Hesiode all from 1507, the binding has to have been made after the 1st of December 1507. The next binding, Daciers no. 5. Grammatica Hebraica1509 plus the four other works in the 1507 volume.

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