|The binding shown above is found in the 1910 catalogue of Edouard Rahir, it is item No. 263 and I have reproduced the catalogue information about this item, immediately below it. Now when I first saw this binding several years ago I was just beginning my Dubuisson research and as the date of the book's publication is given as 1772, I realized it was not the work of Pierre-Paul Dubuisson, however some of the tools looked as though they could have been Dubuisson's. At that time i had plenty to do just working on bindings made within his own lifetime, and put this one on the back burner where it has been sitting for all this time. Now that we are researching the Etat bindings I see that this is another Etat binding. However I have been puzzeled by a few Etat tools, some look as though they might be from the Dubuisson workshop while others appears very similar but with a distinct difference which then makes you suspect that something isn't right. If the tool only looks like the original then maybe none are actually original. The logic is that Dubuisson wouldn't be using something that is a copy of his own tool. This mystery steared my away from investigating further. However as luck would have it, while I was looking through all my Dubuisson binding examples I discovered the answer to this mystery. first let us look at the suspicious imprints.|
|In the enlarged detail shown above we see imprints that derive from Rahir's 1910 catalogue, item 217. This binding I have detailed previously and maintain that it has been decorated by Dubuisson with his own tools. I used a number of the imprints from this binding as the base for my intitial Dubuisson Catalogue. Mainly due to the fact that the excellent reproduction quality allows us a better view of these imprints. As mentioned before you can see in the imprint pd-1 traces of horizontal lines on the upper part of the fleuron, normally these are not visible in most reproductions. Below in Comparative diagram I show my type imprints for pd-36a and pd-36b they probably came from the 217 binding, compared with similar imprints taken from the Etat bindings. While the Etat 36a looks like a close match 36b is obviously different and this is a problem.|
|However today when I was looking through all my old pages on Dubuisson I stumbled opon this page where we are looking at a binding that has been attributed by all the experts, to Douceur, and yet we see unmistakeable Dubuisson imprints, but not only are they Dubuisson imprints they contain the solution to our mystery. Below I show a enlarged detail of the pd-36a and pd-36b imprints from this binding and amazingly here we see the different 36b. This means that Dubuisson had 2 of these tools to produce an almost identical imprint. Now this to me is proof certain that some of the Etat tools derive from the Dubuisson workshop.|
|Now we can look at some of the imprints from our Etat 263 specimen not omitting to consider that this binding is decorated with the arms of the then Queen of England, wife of King George III. The book itself is Le Temple de Gnide You can see the whole book on line. A search of the internet discovers that this very same treasure was sold at a Christies Auction in 2008 and on their web page about the sale you will find some interesting additional information as well as a photograph of the binding in color.The question is then who might the binder and decorater of this very special item be? Well we do not know, but if the tools are found to be coming from Dubuisson's workshop, then binder is not likely to be Derome le jeune as was asserted by the Christies experts.|
|In Comparative Diagram 2, I show the difference between the Derome imprint dj-47b that is taken from a Derome binding that I have detailed previously (see this page) and the same type of imprint from the Etat 263 binding. These distinct differences (as well as the utter lack of any of Derome's imprints) revealing that the Etat 263 specimen is not a binding that was decorated by Derome le Jeune. If you paid thousands more because you thought you were buying a Derome I am sorry to disillusion you.|
|Beause of the rise in popularity of the so called dentelle à l'oiseau, the particular tool used, the fer à l'oiseau by each binder might be seen a sort of signature, you could recognize your favorite binder by his bird, and in the case of this Etat 263 binding we are treated to one of Dubuisson's original tools. In Comparative Diagram 3 I show a Dubuisson fer à l'oiseau imprint pd-4-3, you can see this imprint on a binding that I have detailed on another page, this is another real Dubuisson binding and he was using this same tool some 20 years earlier and it appears now on the Etat bindings 10 years after his death. Probably we will find more of Dubuisson's imprints on the 263 binding, such as the imprints shown in below in Comparative Diagram 4, my type specimens are not as good as these imprints from Etat 263 so really it is very hard to say if these tools are the same. However careful measurement and overlay diagrams can eliminate doubts, while high definition scans can reveal irrefutable proof.|
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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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