French Decorative Bookbinding - Eighteenth Century

Luc-Antoine-Boyet (1685 - 1733)

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I found another Boyet (shown above) with an identical dentelle as found on my eBay binding shown on the previous page, this one is found in a auction catalogue presented on the website of EXPERT Dominique COURVOISIER Alexandre MAILLARD. What is so obvious to me is that the world has no idea of what bookbindings are worth. Here we have a one of a kind item made by the greatest bookbinder of the 18th century. Hands down Boyet beats them all for a number of reasons, he was the best! His bindings were and still are the best that you can ever buy. What are they worth, what is a Rembrandt worth? Each binding is a unique masterpiece, 300 years old and looks like new, why? Because they were made the right with the best possible materials and best possible craftmanship, something like buying a Rolls Royce only much better, something you can hold in your hands without worrying, you can open it and smell it, feel it and marvel in its perfection. WHAT IS THAT WORTH? I will tell you it's far more than a few thousand euros. Hundreds of years ago people were paying, proportionly, way more money for treasures like this because they new the real value of things. Now the world is paying millions for junk, for signatures and photographs, it makes you want to wake them up and say you dumb .... well lets not get onto a rant, the cheaper they are the more likely I can afford one or two. I spent the weekend going though all the old catalogues you can find on the internet. Its obvious that up till a few years ago, no one knew how to recognize a Boyet, sure it looked great but who made it, they didnt have a clue and many still don't. Boyet mastered a lot of different decorative styles, old and new, so good were his retrospective bindings that even the greatest expert Thoinan did not realize it was the work Boyet and not Ruette he was looking at. Padeloup was slipshod compared to Boyet's precision, so much so that I doubt that Padeloup actually made some of the precision bindings now attributed to him, if Padeloup lived in the days of Mace Ruete et al, he would have been laughed out of business with his sloppy strapwork, home made arms, and other excentricities. Dubuisson is the only binder to have surpassed Boyet in creative inventiveness, but did he actually bind the books, and were the bindings as good as Boyet produced, probably not. I have detailed a number of pages that will make identifying a Boyet an easy task if you study them closely. Boyet was the Kings binder for many years and very successful so naturally many tried to imitate his tools and his designs. Today, that can make identifying a Boyet tricky, the imprints of Boyets tools are found on Almanachs and everything destined for Louis XIV. I doubt that today we can appreciate the amount of power Louis XIV was weilding. If you tried to rank men in terms of power and influence on the world over the last 1000 years Louis would be near the top and everything he touched now has a kind of magical extra value that ought to shoot the price of Boyet's Royal bindings through the roof, but NO!!! you can still find them on eBay for peanuts, breaths out a sigh of exasperation.

cmpt 1

Comparative Diagram 1 - 1707 Boyet dentelle vs eBay 1704 dentelle

Considering the nearly identical dentelles shown above in Comparative Diagram 1, and the identical brokatpapiers shown below in Comparative Diagram 2, there seems a very good chance that the eBay 1704 binding was actually made closer to the year 1707.

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Comparative Diagram 2 - ebay Boyet brokatpapier vs l'Université de Poitiers sample

On the previous page we were looking at the decorative endpapers of my eBay example, I spent days searching the internet for this gold foil brokatpapier, and fortunately stumbled upon an exact match that the l'Université de Poitiers just happened to have on its web site. They do not tell us much about their sample and I have not been able to contact them about it (hoping to see more of it) however the fact that they state it is found in a 1706 publication gives us confirmation that this paper is indeed early brokatpapier. There are quite a few resources on the web for these decorative papers and one of the best is ProvenienzWiki - Plattform für Provenienzforschung und Provenienzerschließung below is a snapshot of their page on brokatpapiers. Although I did not find an exact match for my paper on this site, I did find out that this style of decoration was in vogue in the earliest period of brokate paper invention.

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Above I show a typical example of this kind of decoration that seems to have dominated the first decade of brokatpapier production in the first decade of the 18th century. It is composed of floral motifs wrapped around birds and animals, vines and leafs magically entwined in a paradise like iconography... archetypal imagery born of the astral plane.

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It amazes me to see the amount of research that has been devoted brokatpapier, which is being thoroughly investigated and documented. The data shown above pertains to the brokatpaper sample above it click on this link to visit this page.

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see below links to previous work

the last fanfare

Atelier I B 31/10/2014

Icons of the Renaissance 06/02/2014

Atelier au trefle 22/12/2014 most recent page

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

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.

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