French Decorative Bookbinding - Eighteenth Century

Louis Douceur - 1755.

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Suite d'estampes gravées par Madame la marquise de Pompadour,
d'après les pierres gravées de Guay, graveur du roy

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

This luxurious folio sized mosaic binding by Douceur can be found in The Walters Art Museum, Baltimore (click here to see it). I have copied their description and history of this binding below.

"Madame de Pompadour, the favorite mistress of King Louis XV (1710-1774), is best remembered as an enthusiastic patron of France's leading artists and intellectuals. She was also a thinker and artist in her own right. Around 1755 Pompadour orchestrated and helped execute a highly sophisticated project: the Suite of Prints Engraved by Madame de Pompadour after the Carved Gems of Jacques Guay. While Pompadour's involvement with the arts has been portrayed as frivolous, the Suite of Prints reveals the complexity of her interest, especially in the fluid relationships between different visual media: the project translated carved gems into drawings, and drawings into etchings and engravings. Each print in Madame de Pompadour's Suite results from the convergence of multiple artists and artistic processes. First, Jacques Guay carved an image onto a gemstone. Next, an artist, usually François Boucher or Joseph-Marie Vien created a drawing of Guay's carved gem. Pompadour herself then etched the drawing onto a metal plate, and a professional printmaker reinforced her etched lines with an engraving tool called a burin. Finally, an impression of the plate was made on paper to yield the finished print. Madame de Pompadour's ambitious printmaking project reflects the 18th-century mania for collecting ancient and modern carved gems. Pompadour gave Jacques Guay workspace in her residence at Versailles, commissioned him to carve dozens of cameos and intaglios. Pompadour's prints are important records of Guay's gems, as much of his work is lost, and the carved gems that do survive are often small and luminous, making it difficult to appreciate their designs. The prints enlarge the gems and enhance their motifs and imagery. Beneath an enlargement of each gem's design, diagrams indicate the type of stone and its actual size. But Pompadour's goal was not simply to create precise records of the gems. Her printed images often re-interpret the carvings on the stones, taking advantage of stylistic individuality and the tonal possibilities of the print medium to transform them into new works of art. In the move from three to two dimensions, the images from the gems are brought to life in innovative ways. Pompadour issued very few copies of the Suite, probably no more than 20, meant to circulate only to friends and acquaintances. By the late 19th century, only one example of the original edition was known to survive, but it subsequently disappeared from the historical record. New research has reestablished its significance and revealed that it was purchased in 1895 by Henry Walters."

"Madame de Pompadour, Patron and Printmaker.
The Walters Art Museum, Baltimore. 2016.

Jeanne Antoinette Poisson, Marquise de Pompadour, ca. 1755. Purchased by Henry Walters, Baltimore, 1895; by bequest to Walters Art Museum, 1931. Acquired by Henry Walters, 1895"

"Gold tooled with a fine dentelle border of foliate and flower tools. Blue, watered silk inside covers of portfolio. Pink silk ties present. Some of the tooled blossoms are onlaid in red and dark green. The arms of Mme.. de Pompadour (1722-64) are impressed in gold on dark green leather. Certain of the tools, especially the acanthus scrolls in the corners, occur on Fontaine, Fables choisies, 1755, with the royal arms, in the Bibliotheque Nationale, in which Louis Dopuceur's ticket is preserved. Douceur (active 1721-1769) never held the important post of relieur du roi but only of relieur ordinaire du roi. Note on recto first leaf, "These engravings mounted and inserted in album by Gruel." Housed in blue buckram box."

Giles Barber made a fastitious study of the Douceur imprints, below I have extracted some of the more important ones from this mosaic and compared them with Barber's cataloged imprints, these are shown below at 150dpi and each can be enlarged to 300dpi. This particular mosaic binding seems to have many that can be found in Barber's 2013 publication entitled; Printed Books and Bookbindings: Baron Ferdinand de Rothschild, his books and their bindings ; Bookbinders' tools, Volume 1 of Printed Books and Bookbindings, Rothschild Collection at Waddesdon Manor

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I have decided to make a sort of catalogue of these Louis Douceur bindings that are so varied and interesting, on the next page we will look at another very different Douceur gem.

click here to see the next page

click here to return to the INDEX of new (2017) pages.

click here to return to the HOME page.

see below links to previous work

Atelier I B 31/10/2014

Icons of the Renaissance 06/02/2014

Atelier au trefle 22/12/2014

Atelier Royal 1518 - 1524 09/11/2014

Unraveling G. D. Hobson's book on fanfares 27/11/2014

16c fanfare on eBay 23/11/2014

another Padeloup binding on eBay 07/12/2014

the last Padeloup fanfare?

Rare Padeloup binding on eBay 15/11/2014

Pierre-Paul Dubuisson's work attributed to Derone le jeune 23/10/2014 (unfinished work now finished)

Pierre-Paul Dubuisson's work attributed to Douceur 22/10/2014 (an under contruction page finished at last)

Louis-Marie Michon - the 1956 Disaster 19/10/2014 (an unfinished page finished at last)

Louis XII Dolphins motif 03/02/2014

Aristophanes Binder 1543 02/02/2014

Atelier des reliures LOUIS XII - Atlas Catalan 12/01/2014

Atelier des reliures LOUIS XII - FRANÇOIS Ier - Linacre bindings 05/01/2014

Atelier des reliures LOUIS XII - FRANÇOIS Ier c. 1500-1520

Atelier des reliures LOUIS XII - FRANÇOIS Ier - Chronology 16/01/2014

Atelier des reliures LOUIS XII - FRANÇOIS Ier - Inventory - binding No. 29 19/01/2014

Atelier des reliures LOUIS XII - FRANÇOIS Ier - Inventory - binding No. 39 19/01/2014

Atelier des reliures LOUIS XII - FRANÇOIS Ier - The mysterious disappearance of François Tissard d'Amboise 23/01/2014

Atelier des reliures LOUIS XII - FRANÇOIS Ier - The Simon Vostre fiasco 18/01/2014

L'Atelier Simon Vostre 1486-1521 01/01/2014

L'Atelier de Pierre Roffet 1511-1533 - TOOL CATALOGUE 26/01/2014

L'Atelier de Pierre Roffet 1511-1533 27/12/2013

Pierre Roffet - fleur-de-lis binder 28/12/2013

Fleur-de-lis Binder 1525-1540 27/11/2013

Du Saix Master 02/12/2013

Atelier Étienne Roffet 1538-1549 12/12/2013

Atelier Jean Picard 1538-1547

Imitative Binder c.1540 15/12/2013

Salel Binder 1540 17/11/2013

Atelier Ruette 1606-1669 INVENTORY

Atelier Macé Ruette 1606-1644

Atelier du Maitre Doreur 1622-1638

Atelier Antoine Ruette 1638-1669

Atelier des Caumartin 1652-1715

Atelier de Charenton 1670-1685

Atelier Luc-Antoine Boyet 1685-1733

Atelier Antoine-Michel Padeloup. dit Le Jeune 1685-1758

Atelier Louis Douceur 1721-1769

Atelier Pierre-Paul Dubuisson 1746-1762

Atelier Nicolas-Denis Derome, dit Derome le Jeune 1761-1788

Atelier Jean-Pierre Jubert, 1771-1793?

Atelier MM binder, 1770-179-?

A word of Caution

Even experts are sometimes wrong, before you spend thousands on a book, please do your own research! Just because I say a certain binding can be attributed to le Maitre isn't any kind of guarantee, don't take my word for it, go a step further and get your own proof. In these pages I have provided you with a way of doing just that.

Virtual Bookings, created by L. A. Miller return to the Home page of VIRTUAL BOOKBINDINGS