|The binding shown above is found in the Catalogue de reliures du XVe au XIXe siècle, en vente à la librairie Gumuchian & Cie. [Belles Reliures, Catalogue XII.] Published by Gumuchian & Cie. , Paris, 1929. This large folio sized catalogue, is as good as you can get for high quality reproductions, possibly printed with heliogravure techniques. An invaluable reference about which I cannot say enough. You can click on the image to enlarge to 300dpi without any image loss. Now that we are hot on the trail of Douceur bindings I have looked again at this binding which is a bit mysterious, The catalogue notes, refer to this as a possible Douceur, however they mention small bird imprints and I do not see any, but then they also mention a tortillion border, which is the spiral form outer edge gilding. So I have to think this is the right binding. This has to be a binding made after 1756, and could be then quite different from the bindings made 10 years earlier. I decided to catalogue all the tools on this binding to see where they lead us.|
|in my old collection of Douceur imprints (click here to see them), I only find one that I can possibly identify in this 1756 binding, shown as d-8, however now that I have looked through Barber's collection of imprints I find that his FL 157 is a perfect match, he notes this imprint as deriving from a Douceur binding.|
|However as this binding is from 1756 or later it may not help us looking for Douceurs tools of 1749. I discovered another binding with one of these tools, in my collection of higher than normal resolution binding images, No. 923, this same binding recently appeared in a Sotheby's Auction in 2014|
|This binding could have appeared after 1750 and has been attributed by Sotheby's experts to Padeloup, on the basis that this binding came from the collection of Robert Hoe who claimed it was a Padeloup! Personally I do not see a single Padeloup tool used in the decoration of this binding. However when I tested one of the tools against those found in the binding shown at the top of this page, 1756 Breviaire, I found a perfect match. This is shown in Comparative Diagram 2 below. This imprint is so irregular that the slightest difference would show up immediately.|
|A quick look at the No. 923 imprints reveals that this binding was decorated with only a handfull of tools. They are very distinctive however and I soon found another binding with the same tools in the same Sotheby's sale.|
|Now you only have to look at Sotheby's enlargement of this 1754 Lucrèce, you realize that this binding was made by the same binder as the 1750 Virgile (lot 230) and probably in the same year the work is so similar. Yet the Sotheby's experts make no mention of Padeloup, strange no? Now here is where the plot thickens, when i saw this binding it seemed to me that i have seen before this corner tool and sure enough it appears on another binding in my high resolution collection, No. 1105, a binding that I previously marked "Douceur?"|
|When I was looking for clues in Barber's imprint catalogue, I decided to try and locate the imprints that corresponded to the ones that he listed as being found on Douceur's "signed" bindings. He gives us a list of the imprints he found on them, too bad he didn't just show us a photo of each one of these signed bindings, I am sure it would have made our work a lot easier, but maybe not as much fun. I noticed on binding No. 1105 an imprint that looked a lot like DCT 53, when I put them both together at the same scale, even though Barber's model isn't very sharp, there was no doubt that this is the same imprint! This is a huge discovery, the same imprint from a signed Douceur binding is found on No. 1105.|
|At this point of time I was lamenting the fact that I could not locate my references for No. 1105 an obviously important key to the puzzle. Then as if by a miracle of coincidence I noticed that the title of Lot 156, was the same as that of No. 1105, even though you could only see part of the title, you know this has to be the same one, the very same book by the very same binder, even the edge roll is the same. This can be seen in Comparative Diagram 7, shown below.|
|Looking through my old files I found yet another Lucrèce with the same corner imprint as the others, this binding is starting to look like the classic Douceur bindings that I have already covered on another page and not surprisingly they are all copies of the 1754 Lucrèce (click here to see this page).|
|Now I have just found another one (shown above) in an online auction catelogue, here we are getting lucky on this binding, which cannot be enlarged but we can see anyway, the same corner imprint, the DCT 53 imprint, and the wreath, shown in Comparative Diagram 2. Confirming the status of all these bindings. In the auction details they have attributed this binding to Douceur which is normal as everyone seems to recognize this type of Douceur. They list further examples that we will try to track down on the next page.|
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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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