French Decorative Bookbinding - Eighteenth Century

Louis Douceur - 1754 Lucretius

click to enlarge

click to enlatge

"binding signed plumet. Red morocco, large central floret and wide border with gilded nets, interrupted ten times by a rococo motif pattern containing a floral tool, back with nerves adorned and gilded with signature Plumet C, on the bottom of the spine of the first volume, inner dentelle, gilded edges. Minimal restorations at the corners, weak hinges in the upper part of volume II

Luxurious illustrated edition, printed on strong paper of Holland, published in Paris, in spite of the address of Amsterdam appearing on the titles. We know three bookbinders in Paris in the name of Plumet, all three active at the time of publishing this book. They were all three administrators of the brotherhood of Saint-Hilaire, and they all lived on the rue d'Ecosse: Louis-Valentin (died in 1773), Jacques-Louis (died in 1786), and Jacques-René (died around 1790). All three, we do not know if they belonged to the same family, they were very active in the community of gilding bookbinders of Paris and all were elected guards of the corporation between the years 1733 and 1767. Valentin Plumet was related to the family of Derome. Note the small tool "au plumet", present on other bindings."

This binding appeared in a Sotheby's 2012 auction (19th November, 2012, Paris), I have roughly translated the description of it above, (click here to see this page.) It sold for 6,250 euros, even though it was signed PLUMET C. at the bottom of the spines. I am going to show on this page that some of the imprints that are found on this binding derive from Douceur's tools therefore it may be possible that Plumet continued the work in Douceurs atelier for some years after Douceur passed away. I have found another binding that was made in 1783 or later, that appears to have some of these same imprints arranged in a similar way, we will look at that on the next page.


click to enlarge

First I would like to point out the central decoration of the boards, right in the center of these decorations is what appears to be one of Douceur's favorite tools, usually found in the corners, I have catalogued it as d-26-2. This imprint is unusually sharp on the Tomb II volume in this auction photo (shown behind the first).

click to enlarge

click to enlarge

Comparative Diagram 1 - Douceur imprint d-26-2 examples enlarged to 500dpi.

In Comparative Diagram 2 we can see that the type model is not as clear as the imprints found in the centerpieces. However it will be interesting to compare the binding that produced the type model, I show it below, this is another binding that is unusual compared to many other Douceur bindings. Shown in color as well as in Esmerians black and white photo of the same binding, click on these images to see enlargements.

click to enlarge

click to enlarge

click to enlarge

click to enlarge

This binding was sold in a Sotheby's auction in 2012 for a price of 27.150 euros (click here to see the Sotheby's page on this).The copy is enriched with 240 portraits of important individuals in the history of France, from Desrocher's collection, proofs drawn in ornate frames, 11 of which bear the additional signature of Ponce and the date 1761. There are also 2 large engravings of Gaspard Bouttats of Antwerp engraved on double pages: The Massacre of St. Bartholomew and The Assassination of Henry IV. Therefore what we are looking at here is a binding that was made sometime around 1761 or later. Sotheby's also gives the dimensions, 2 volumes in-4 (292 x 220 mm) Avec le Supplément à la date de 1756.

imprints cmpt

Comparative Diagram 3 - imprints from No.97

In Comparative Diagram 3, I have assembled the imprints from Esmerian's No.97, unfortunately Esmerian's work is comprimised by the poor printing quality of his photographic reproductions, we cannot enlarge the imprints very far, however I made this diagram to make a basic start on cataloging the Douceur imprints many years ago. Today I have rotated d-10 and d-14 simply to make them more easily recognized in terms of Barber's catalogue, where we do find at least one of the imprints, DCR 16. However I want to first point out another imprint that is shared between these bindings, yet is not found in Barber's imprint collection. Shown below in Comparative Diagram 4.


Comparative Diagram 4 - d-10 imprint from No.97 vs centerpiece imprint

click to enlarge

Comparative Diagram 5 - d-14 imprint from No.97 vs Barber DCR 16

In Comparative Diagram 5, I show that my d-14 is the same as Barber's DCR 16 although he obviously did not have a good copy. This imprint he notes as being found on Douceur bindings. Another thing I want to point out, that can be found on my preliminary Douceur catalogue (click here to see it) is a palette that I noticed so often that I placed it in the inventory as d-palette-1, shown below in Comparative Diagram 6. Seriously I think it unlikely that this so called Plumet binding was made with anything other than Douceur tools.
There are a few more comparative bindings that bear a close relationship with No. 97 and the Lucretius at the top of this page, these we will look at on the next page. Also note that binding No 97 was the source of the d-7 imprint that appears to verify the signed Douceur 1757 Longus (shown on page 7) which then indicates that No. 97 is indeed a Douceur and therefore by reason of shared imprints, this Lucretius is another Louis Douceur binding.

click to enlarge

Comparative Diagram 6 - Douceur palettet (d-palette-1) vs Plumet???

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