|On the previous page we were pointing out the similarities between the eBay 1749 Henault and the No. 54, 1749 henault which has been documented on another page, (click here to see this page). If you study that page you will notice that my comparison between No. 54 and No. 90 rests strongly on a large imprint pair d-46a and d-46b found on both bindings, shown below in Comparative Diagram 2 and in Comparative Diagram 1.|
|Just recently a wonderful friend sent me a copy of Barber's Douceur imprint model FR 44, which is similar but not identical to my Douceur imprint model d-46, as you can see in Comparative Diagram 1. This is disturbing as it suggests that my d-46 imprint is not perhaps from an authentic Douceur tool. I decided to test again the imprints from No. 90. First I want to make sure of the size of the imprint, this could be done by testing the corner imprint with the corner imprint of a binding found in the British Library Database of Bookbindings that is almost certain to be by Douceur as his signature ticket is found inside. Shown below in Comparative Diagram 3.|
|Fortunately the enlarged images from the British Library are accompanied with a ruler for scale, in photoshop it is a simple matter to resize the image to its exact actual size in a 300 dpi resolution. So now we are able to proceed with exactly scaled Douceur imprints.|
|In Comparative Diagram 4, we see that we have both the Davis543 corner imprint and the No. 90 corner imprint placed together on a background, then we have copied the Davis543 corner to make another layer which we place over the No. 90 corner. This layer is then color inverted to make the differences more obvious, and the layer is set to 58% transparency. Initially I was doing this experiment to check the size of the No. 90 imprint, to verify that all the imprints would be the correct size. I quicklly discovered that while the size was good, the imprints did not match up. Ah Ha I hear you saying but wait, if you rotate the layer eventually they do line up, they Match! See this in Comparative Diagram 5, below. Proof positive these two imprints derive from the same Douceur tool!|
|After making Comparative Diagram 5, I wondered if there was any specific rotation to this imprint and decided to test all eight examples (Davis543 TOM I and Davis544 TOM II) that you can find in the British Library Database of Bookbindings. I tried a number of not so convincing tests to try to identify the rotation of this imprint. Although there are a few possible imprint defects that might help to show orientation, I wasn't convinced, I needed a better way to look at this imprint, and finally devised a way to see it. After looking at it for hours, I thought I might be able to recognice a face or different faces, however with the circular distribution it was far to difficult to see. This led to the inspiration for Comparative Diagram 7, shown below.|
This work allowed me to make comparative Diagram 8, I actually started on the Davis544 side, the imprints are shown as they appear in the corners of the boards. The part of the imprint that appears to have a defect is marked "A" once we see the orientation, it is easy to imagine that Douceur started on the bottom doing the left and right corners, then turned the book around around on the table, still holding the tool in the same orientation to work on the top, thus the "A" is always be close to the outside and the "D" on the interior. On Davis543 the same routine was repeated however he was now holding the tool rotated in his hand nearly 180 degrees. Therefore, there is not likely to be any one single orientation for this tool (according to our testing up to this point). My type model for this imprint, shown in Comparative Diagram 6, is shown rotated according to the Davis544 orientation "A" outward which is the same orientation found in the corner imprint of No. 90 (front bottom spine side).
On the next page we will try to find more evidence to show that our eBay 1749 Henault was in fact decorated with the tools of Louis Douceur, and not those of Padeloup le jeune.
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|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.|
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