French Decorative Bookbinding - Eighteenth Century

Pierre-Paul Dubuisson decor - with Jacques-Antoine Derome's ticket inside

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De Ricci, number 32.
from: French Signed Bindings in Mortimer L Schiff Collection by Seymour De Ricci, 1935
(click to see an enlargement)

The attribution of the binding in De Ricci's Plate 32 to J A Derome is another example of a terrible error made by an "expert" of considerable standing, Seymour De Ricci, is one more of those who was fooled into thinking that Jacques-Antoine Derome's ticket pasted inside a book always meant that he also decorated the binding as well. Thoinan warned us about this, as did Émile Dacier also.


De Ricci's 1935 reproduction of a supposed J A Derome etiquette

It bothers me alot when I have to pay enormous amounts of money for a book that has been written by someone who should have been an expert but was not. An expert would have said at the onset of this page that this binding has J A Deromes ticket inside but the gold tooling on the outside that was done by Pierre-Paul Dubuisson. If De Ricci does not clearly state this then he is just adding error and confusion to an already confused subject. Yes its wonderful to produce a book of signed bindings, very impressive but what if the tickets are meaningless or even fake? You need to investigate before you make us pay an exhorbitant amount for your book! Here is what I think, De Ricci the "expert" produces this set of books and 10 years later Louis-Marie Michon comes along and seeing Plate 32 says "ah ha" so this is what J A Derome's tools look like...

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The binding shown above is the binding in question, Plate 32, really not much to see other than the spine for gold tooling, below I show the bottom spine compartment and palette. you can see from the very bottom of the spine that the surface is curved this means that the imprints will be distorted, those away from the center will have to worst distortion, however Plate 32 is a reasonably good reproduction and we can see the imprints clearly.

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Comparative Diagram 1 - Dubuisson imprint pd-4 (fer à l'oiseau) vs Plate 32 imprints.

It is no secret that many of the famous dentelles of the mid 18th century are known as dentelle á l'oiseau simply because of the fer à l'oiseau. Dubuisson as far as I know was the first to have such a tool, and it is shown in Comparative Diagram 1. Derome le jeune has become well known due to his use of a similar tool however Dubuisson was decorating bindings with this tool 10 years before Derome even became a binder, and Derome's fer à l'oiseau was a cheap rip off reversed copy of Dubuisson's original pd-4. Today no one remembers Dubuisson, everyone associates Derome with this tool, however this is a great injustice. Now the first thing that anyone claiming to be an expert would know, is the difference between not only Derome's fer à l'oiseau but also that of Jubert as well as Dubuisson, each had a distinctive set of bird tools. De Ricci observes casually the presense of "Derome's celebrated tool à l'oiseau... if it was famous it was not J A Derome who made it so, there is no proof anywhere that J A Derome had a tool like this, his son, Derome le jeune yes however the two binders are distinctly different, there isn't any proof that Derome le jeune used any of his father's tools, in fact on the day that J A Derome died, the public notaries were quick to inspect his rooms, and where he worked so as to make a complete inventory of his belongings, they didn't find any guilding material or tools.... and if Derome le jeune had them and started using them, this would have been impossible to hide. What ever the case may be, our first question must be, why was J A Derome putting his tickets inside bindings that were decorated by Dubuisson? The logical assumption is that J A Derome was not a doreur and that he outsourced the guilding work to the Dubuissons as did Padeloup when he was too old to do it himself.

When I was starting out in my Dubuisson research I was lucky enough to buy a Dubuisson dentelle á l'oiseau and I made high resolutions scans of the imprints, with which I have been able to make some interesting discoveries. (click here to see this binding) The high resolution imprints from that binding are going to help us here. Comparative Diagram 1 is our first example. Even though the plate 32 imprint has been distorted by the curvature of the spine we can still see that these imprints derive from the same Dubuisson tool.


Comparative Diagram 2 - Dubuisson imprint pd-46a-2 and 46b-2 vs Plate 32 imprints.

We see in Comparative Diagram 2 another perfect match even with the distortion, these imprints have been reproduced to scale that is to say both are in the same 600 dpi scale, they are identical in size and form.


Comparative Diagram 3 - Dubuisson imprint pd-50a and 50b vs plate 32 imprints enlaged to 800dpi.

In Comparative Diagram 3 we see some very convincing evidence, here we have a matched pair of imprints that are not perfectly mirrored left and right copies, they are different and yet the same, the beauty of this pair is that the negative space in the middle of each is quite different one from another, and we see in the Plate 32 examples this same negative space arrangement, absolute proof that these imprints derive from the same Dubuisson tools


Comparative Diagram 4 - Dubuisson imprint pd-26 vs plate 32 imprint.

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Comparative Diagram 5- Dubuisson palette from Davis541 vs Plate 32 palette

(click on this image to see an enlargement)

Finally we come to the palettes, I have already used this same palette example on another page (see this page) this is one of the most common Dubuisson palette, it is found on all of their Plaque decorated Almanach Royals, if you don't know this palette you don't know mid 18th century French decorative bookbinding, and should not be misleading us with an overly expensive book on French Signed bindings.This is another warning to you, the reader, do not depend on any "expert", do your own research and find out before you spend your hard earned cash.

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click here to see more Pierre-Paul Dubuisson pages.

click here to see the INDEX of the 2017 pages.

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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