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1667 Le Nouveau Testament de Mons - reliure by Luc-Antoine Boyet
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The binding of this rare copy of a first edition "Port-Royal" New Testament, sometimes known as De Sacy's version, or the Mons Testament (NTM), appears to have been executed by Luc-Antoine Boyet. While the publication is rare, the binding is exceptionally rare, probably there is no other doublure in existence that matches exactly this unique example. However the design and style is easily recognized comparing well with a number of Boyet examples in the 2002 publication, Relieures Françaises du 17c, by Isabelle de Conihout & Pascal Ract-Madoux. Perhaps even more striking are the framed fleurons of Esmerian's Boyet example, No. 60.

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Reliure 42, page 96, Relieures Françaises du 17c, by Isabelle de Conihout & Pascal Ract-Madoux, 2002.

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Reliure No. 60 from Raphaël Esmerian's 1972 publication Bibliotheque Raphaël Esmerian, 2eme Partie

Comparative Diagram

Comparative Diagram 1 - NTM detail vs detail from Esmerian example No. 60

In Comparative Diagram, I compare a detail taken from the NTM doublure with a similar detail from Esmerian example No. 60. A close examination of the tooling is not possible with the low resolution of the Esmerian photo, however we can see that many design aspects are identical. A comparative analysis of the inner dentelle (roulette) and the large central fleuron of the spine panels, further confirm this binding to be the work of Boyet.

Below in Comparative Diagram 2, we see Example 43 from the Relieures Françaises du 17c, by Isabelle de Conihout & Pascal Ract-Madoux. compared with the NTM doublure, both of these examples have been reproduced at full scale (monitor res 600X800)
The NTM binding falls into the Isabelle de Conihout & Pascal Ract-Madoux, Group 8, Doublures "plein or" (full gold), thought to have been executed around 1690-1710. On page 98-99 the Authors present example 43 as the only known example of a "full gold" doublure within a "classic" Boyet binding. Note the use of roulletes to form what is sometimes referred to as an " inner dentelle" as well as matching marbled endpapers (Papier peigne à frisons)

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Comparative Diagram 2 - Example 43 vs NTM example

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Comparative Diagram 3 - Fleuron from example 43 vs NTM example

In Comparative Diagram 3 - I have extracted from each doublure a matching fleuron, this exercise demonstrates that the imprints are of the same size and therefore one is assured that the scale of each doublure is the same. Even though the image is of quite a low resolution (200 dpi) we are still able count the segments in the stem between the lower and middle ring, being 8 in number with the top segments smaller and slightly angular in relation to the rest. A number of other details appear to confirm that these imprints probably derive from the same tool. (Even though the gold leaf has not disengaged from the ring centers of the NTM imprint)

In the next few pages we will address a number of different issues. Le Nouveau Testament de Mons is itself a highly interesting and controversial publication. The first edition appeared in 1667 and was censured by royal decree in the same year, and later condemned by Popes Clement IX in 1668 and Innocent XI in 1679. Hardouin de Péréfixe, Archbishop of Paris, issued an ordinance against this Testament, which was placed on the Index. Much like today, a banned book soon becomes big business, and dozens of counterfeit editions were produced to fill the demand for this famous Jansenist translation. Bettye Thomas Chambers identifies ten separate editions of the Port Royal New Testament, all with the Mons imprint and the date 1667: Bibliography of French Bibles. Seventeenth Century French-Language Editions of the Scriptures, (Geneva, 1994), nos. 1353-1362. Although these ten editions are nearly identical, there are differences among them, the most obvious being a variety of printers devices. It will be expedient therefore, to reproduce high resolution copies of the devices found in this particular copy of the first edition and perhaps verify its authenticity, hardly imagining for one minute, that Boyet would decorate a contrefaçon with such a luxurious binding.

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