|The Binding of Books
An Essay in the History of Gold-Tooled
Bindings by Herbert P. Horne
|French Bindings 31
|The total effect and colour of this binding is, certainly pleasing: but the forms of the decoration
are ill conceived, and worse drawn. Other bindings by Le Monnier, one of which, executed for
the Ducd'Orleans, is reproduced by M. Gruel, are designed in the 'Chinese taste' of the last
century; further than which, absurdity cannot go in his gilding, in his elaboration of the' dentelle'
border to which he gave a very original air, he may be considered the father of the French
binders, who immediately succeeded him; all of whom are inferior to him, both in the execution,
and in the invention, of their work. Dentelle' borders, so called from the indented edge, which
they present toward the centre of the boards, first occur upon the 'doublures ' of the time of
Boyet: these were now elaborated and used by Padeloup as the chief exterior decoration of the
boards. The invention, which he exhibits in the design of these borders, is shown in a binding of
great beauty and originality, figured by M. Gruel in his Manuel [s.n.]: the book is a copy of Les
Fetes donnees au Roy a Strasbourg en 1744, and was bound for Louis xv. Although the forms of
the tools, used on this binding, are of a florid character; yet the effect of their composition is at
once simple and magnificent. It is the work of a distinguished artist, the inventor of an individual
style. With his inlaid bindings, Padeloup had less success: many are of a geometrical character;
and although executed with great accomplishment, appear mechanical and unpleasing in effect.
An example of this kind, an Office de la Semaine Sainte, Paris, 1712, in the British Museum, has
been, with some show of probability, attributed to him [Co 48. d. 14-].
Towards the first half of the seventeenth century, bookbinding rapidly degenerated in France:
and little remains to be noticed for its artistic value. Augustin Du Seuil was succeeded by Pierre
Anguerrand, as Binder in Ordinary to the king; and Padeloup Ie jeune, by Pierre Paul Dubuisson,
who was both binder and gilder, and who added to his other accomplishment, a skill in Heraldry,
publishing an Armorial, in 1757. Louis Douceur, who held the office of' Relieur pour Ie service du
dep6t des affaires etrangeres,' worked somewhat in the manner of Padeloup Ie jeune; but his
designs want distinction, and his workmanship refinement. He died in 1769.
The taste for inlaid bindings continued during the greater part of the eighteenth century. Those
stamped with the name of Monnier, have been especially sought after by modern collectors:
they are probably the work of Jean Charles Henri Ie Monnier, binder to the Duc d'Orleans, who
received his freedom in 1757. These bindings are executed with extraordinary accomplishment:
but they are such as would become a boudoir, rather than a library. The British Museum
possesses an unusually fine example, La Sainte Bible, Cologne, 1739, the boards of which are
inlaid with flowers: on the lower cover occurs the name MONNIER, in gold letters [CO 46. c.].
|< Binding of Books Home >
|< French Bindings Part 30
||French Bindings Part 32 >
|Copyright © 2005, 2006 aboutbookbinding.com All Rights Reserved.