French Decorative Bookbinding - Eighteenth Century

Louis Douceur - imitation - c.1760

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Reproduction of page 304, Catalogue of Printed Books and Bookbindings:
The James A. de Rothschild Bequest at Waddesdon Manor, by Giles Barber 2013
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The reproduction shown above is from a relatively recent (2013) publication by Giles Barber, with the mention below it that this binding is "ascribed" to Louis Douceur. Barber in his very expensive book has thrown the study of the work of Louis Douceur into a terrible disarray. He would like us to imagine that Louis Douceur went out of his way to make a bunch of obviously fake reproductions of his own tools to make bindings that only look like his originals? However Barber has gone to a great amount of work to catalogue a lot of imitation Douceur bindings, this will make our work easier in the end. I touched on this subject on another page when I discovered that Barber's type model for one of Douceurs imprints (FR 44.) did not match up with imprints that I had found. I didn't go too far on that page because I was not sure where Barber found his imprint. Now I have discovered the source on his page 304 reproduction we can look at this matter more thoroughly.

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Comparative Diagram 1 - imprints from No. 90 and 54 vs Barber FR 44.
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Comparative Diagram 2 - imprints FR 44 vs W.Cat 636 imprints.
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As you can see in Comparative Diagram 1, especially if you look at the enlargement, these imprints are very similar BUT not exactly the same, they were not made with the same tools, when ever you see this, imprints that are close but not identical you can be sure that there is a problem somewhere. Now if this were just a single tool being different you could imagine that perhaps the original was damaged and a new replacement copy made. However when you see that the entire binding is covered with look alike tools you know this was not the case.


Comparative Diagram 3 - Douceur imprint d-17a vs W.Cat 636 imprint.

In Comparative Diagram 3, we see a very special Douceur tool d-17a that I have managed to scan at 1200dpi, the W.Cat 636 imprint is not even a close copy but anyway, to the unaided eye, looks very similar, shown here enlarged to 300dpi.

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Comparative Diagram 4 - corner imprints DCR 13 W.Cat 636 imprint vs DCR 14 Douceur imprint.
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In Comparative Diagram 4, we see first that the imprint DCR 13 is a copy of the Douceur corner imprint that Barber has catalogued as DCR 14. If you want to imitate someones decorative gold tooling, the corner imprint is the place to start, many people seem to home into a particular binder, by the corner tools, probably it is easier to remember just one imprint.


Comparative Diagram 4 - Douceur wreath imprints d-4-4 and d-4-5 vs W.Cat.636 wreath.

I could find many more imitation tools on this 636 binding and conversely I do not see any tool that I clearly recognize as a Douceur tool. This is an imitation Douceur and it is important to understand the ramifications of this fact. Barber has cataloged these tools as Douceur tools! In Comparative Diagram 1, I show Barber's FR 44 as well as his list of bindings where he has found it, as well as the tools he has cataloged on those bindings... I will bet that these are not Douceur bindings and the listed imprint types do not derive from Douceur tools.

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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