|The binding shown above can be found on the web site of the Calouste Gulbenkian Museum. We know from our extensive research of the tools of Pierre-Paul Dubuisson, that the imprints on this binding derive from Dubuisson's tools. He decorated this binding and yet inside we find the ticket of Jacques-Antoine Derome. While Derome may have bound the book, he did not apply the elaborate gold tooling that we see here, that job was turned over to Dubuisson. On Dubuisson's earliest tickets we find that he considered himself primarily as a 'doreur'.|
|I have, on a number of pages, detailed the errors of Louis-Marie Michon in his publication Les reliures mosaïquées du XVIIIeme siècle, Paris 1956. His book has sent the attribution of the 18th Century Mosaic bindings into an utter chaos that is still perplexing experts even today. Normally this should never have happened, Michon who seemed to be unaware of the Dubuisson's workshops? attributed most of the Mosaics to Jacques-Antoine Derome or his son Derome le jeune, even though two of the greatest experts who ever lived both agreed that Derome probably did not do this work himself, both experts refer to a doreur who worked for Derome and both have pointed to the binding shown above in black and white in Comparative Diagram 1, as being representative of the work of that doreur. The black and white example is from Michon's own reproduction of this binding, the spine is from Marius Michel's reproduction of the binding (see Marius Michel's page on this). One cannot fail to observe the numerous similarities to the Gulbenkian example, we could easily imagine that these bindings are in fact contemporaneous, perhaps being made in the same year or even in the same month, in the same workshop by the same doreur. Notice particularly the spine compartments, here we see, incredibly well made miniture mosaics of several inlaid leathers of different colors to which intricate gold tooling has been added. This technique and the design within the compartments appears to derive from a single inspiration.|
|I want to put an end to this problem with scientific precision, irrefutable proof that Pierre-Paul Dubuisson was the doreur who decorated these bindings. Dubuisson had in his collection of tools a few that were his favorites, that he used on many if not most of his bindings. One particular set of these tools, I have catalogued as pd-21a and its reversed double pd-21b, we have looked at the imprints from these tools many times in the past however we are going to look at them again in high resolution to show how these imprints can be used to identify the work of Dubuisson. The only difficulty in this is managing to get high resolution photographs or better yet scans, of the imprints. we can however start with Michon's plate XVIII which has enough detail to show distinct indicators that confirm that the pd-21 pair are found on this binding. I show above an enlargement of the imprints found in the center of Michon's Plate XVIII, here we can clearly see the pd-21 imprints. These I have placed in Comparative Diagram 2. You will notice that the detail of the imprints from Plate XVIII is not as good as the Type Models, and the Gulbenkian examples even less so.|
|In Comparative Diagram- 3, I show an enlarged detail of the various dp-21b imprints. only one of the imprints is an actual 1200 dpi scan, the clear sharp detail gives away its identity. The other examples are only enlargements of scans that range from 200 dpi to 300 dpi and lack detail. If all specimens were scanned at 1200 dpi we would have irrefutable proof, however we can still see that the PLate XVIII example shows a trace of the cross in the middle of the flower bud, that identifies these imprints very precisely. I am still hoping to get a better image of the Gulbenkian LA250 imprints.|
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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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