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French Decorative Bookbinding - Eighteenth Century

Pierre-Paul Dubuisson fl 1746-1762.

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Leon Gruel 1895 Volume 2 of Manuel historique et bibliographique de l'amateur de reliures

On the previous page we reproduced some of Leon Gruel's text and diagrams from his 1895 Volume 2 of Manuel historique et bibliographique de l'amateur de reliures. Immediately after speaking of Pierre Delorme, Gruel goes on to outline the work of Jacques-Antoine Derome, below I have reproduced his text, while above I have reproduced Gruel's plate of a binding that he attributed to J. A. Derome. Here is another huge mistake by a famous expert, a mistake that probably influenced Louis-Marie Michon. The binding shown above was most certainly decorated by Dubuisson, all the imprints are from Dubuisson's tools, and yet Derome has pasted his ticket inside, the only explaination possible is that Derome hired Dubuisson to do this work. As already suggested by Thoinan and Marius Michel who suspected that some other doreur was working for J. A. Derome. How could Gruel make this mistake? It all becomes immediately obvious by his first statements. Writing in 1895, 8 years after his first volume, he says that right up until now he has not been able to find a binding of importance that might have been made by Jacques-Antoine Derome. In this case however he was tricked by another binding that has Derome's name stamped at the bottom of the spine, I imagine that Gruel remembered the fleuron that is central in the spine compartments as the same as seen in the dentelle of his example binding.


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Comparative Diagram 1 - 1747 Dubuisson binding vs Gruel plate.
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In Comparative Diagram 1 - we see a Dubuisson binding which I have detailed on another page (see this page) compared with Gruel's example there is no doubt that these bindings are the work of the same binder.



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Comparative Diagram 2 - Pierre-Paul Dubuisson imprints vs Gruel's Jacques-Antoine Derome example

Even though Gruel's reproduction of this binding isn't great (at least not online see it here) we can see that these imprints derive from Dubuisson's tools most of which I have catalogued previously.



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Comparative Diagram 3 - Dubuisson imprint pd-54 vs Derome le jeune imprint dj-16
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Now after writing this page a few weeks ago I found at last a binding that I remember putting in its own folder as being possibly a real Jacques-Antoine Derome binding, I found it several years ago in a 1965 Sotheby's catalogue and by great good fortune the spine of this binding has the very model of the jd-16 imprint that Gruel had illustrated. Previously I was thinking that perhpas Derome le Jeune could have made this signed spine as he often used this model fleuron for his central motif in spine panels. now we can perhaps prove that this tool actually was owned by the elder Derome and passed down to his son.



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Comparative Diagram 4 - Derome le jeune imprint dj-16 vs dj-16-2
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Here is something fantastic, this may actually be, and in fact, in all probability is, a real and very rare Jacques-Antoine Derome binding that he has decorated himself. After all this time I was thinking he never had any tools even to make one (according to Thoinan). Here is a binding to study carefully, first of all there are no signs of any tridents which was Michon's supposed link to all the Derome bindings, second we see here tools that resemble those of Dubuisson but are different, which means we can now easily separate the two camps, while at the same time we can see a few other Derome le jeune imprints i. e. tools that were passed on to him. Why would I suddenly accept this as a binding by Jacques and not his son? Firstly it seems likely, by all that I can find on the internet that this binding was made somewhere between 1746 and 1751 or later, that is, well before Derome le jeune was even a recognized binder. The next thing is the strange almost foreign like appearance of this binding, unusual tools and very few of the typical tools of Derome le jeune with the exception of the spine compartments.


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Comparative Diagram 5 - Dubuisson imprints pd-46a-6 and pd-46b-6 vs Derome imprints
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The first thing I want to show is this Dubuisson imprint shown in Comparative Diagram 5, this derives from a 1751 Almanach Royal, we see that these two imprints are of a very similar size and shape, I don't know who was copying who here or why, but the good thing is that these imprints are different enough for us to be able to separate them.


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Comparative Diagram 6 - Dubuisson imprints pd-46a-6 and pd-46b-6 vs Derome imprints
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Now look at these imprints in Comparative Diagram 6, the Dubuisson example is rare, shown here from a 1751 Almanach Royal, I cannot remember seeing it elsewhere and I have not catalogued it before, proof it was not an important item in his tool kit, yet Derome the Elder has a very similar looking tool, the size and shape are really close with only slight differences in arc and thickness, the fact that Derome le jeune has something much less impressive would seem to indicate that indeed this is not the work of Derome le jeune.


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Comparative Diagram 7 - Derome le jeune imprints dj-44a and dj-44b vs J A Derome imprints
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However we do see imprints in this 377 Heures that are probably the same tools Derome le jeune was using 10 years later, these ring chains shown in Comparative Diagram 7 probably derive from the same tools. In conclusion then this binding by J A Derome is an invaluable source of information that will serve to separate all these bindings that have been mixed and attributed willy nilly by Michon. In the Sotheby's auction information for this binding they state that Michon was aware of this binding and listed it in his infamous work Les reliures mosaïquées du XVIIIe siècle, why then did he ignore the obvious importance of this binding? Probably because it did not fit his preconceived ideas. I cannot say that I am immune to this sort of speculation myself however when you get down to measuring and testing your theories you cannot carry misconceptions very long without running into contradictions, if you ignore contradictions, they may haunt you for all of eternity.



click here to go to the INDEX of new pages.


click here to return to the Virtual Bookbindings HOME page.


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.

Virtual Bookings, created by L. A. Miller return to the Home page of VIRTUAL BOOKBINDINGS

l.a.miller@mail.pf