click on this image to see an enlargement
Identical BREVIARIUM Tools shared by these three books
click on this image to see an enlargementFrench binding, with an ownership mark of Louis XIV, King of France (1638-1715) click on this image to see an enlargementFrench binding, bearing the Coat of Arms of James II and Mary, of Modena, Queen, consort. click on this image to see an enlargementFrench binding circa 1690, bearing the Coat of Arms of James II, King of England, (1633-1701)

Royal Bindings

My research on the 1647 Breviarium binding was greatly intensified by the discovery of another very similar binding in the British Library Database of Bookbinding's The Library data on this binding is sparse and yet very intriguing....

Shelfmark -
Held by - British Library
Country - France
Period - 17c
Cover Material - Goatskin (includes morocco, turkey etc.)
Colour - Red
Decorative Technique - Tooled in gold
Style/Type - Armorial, Fanfare
Edges - Gilt
Bookbinder -
Ownership Mark - James II, King of England (1633-1701)
Author -
Title - L'office de la semaine saincte
Place of Publication - Paris
Date of Publication - [1690?]
Notes - Marbled enleaves. The binding may be French since James was in exile. The coat of arms is made from single tools, not an arms block.

Anxious to find out more about this story of King James II in exile, I searched the web and found a few important details...

The deposed King James fled to France on Christmas Day 1688, where he was welcomed by his first cousin, King Louis XIV, at Versailles. The French King provided James with a pension and the use of the Chateau of St. Germain-en Laye.
James had already sent his Queen and the new Prince of Wales to safety in France and he was exiled there more or less until his death in 1701. The queen, Mary of Modena, was delivered of a second child in exile in 1692, a daughter, Louisa Mary, whom James called his "solace". James who was depressed with living in exile, became totally obsessed with religion and spent most of his time at his devotions or visiting the convent of La Trappe. In August, 1701, aged sixty-eight, James died of a brain hemorrhage, and was buried in France at St.Germaine. Louis XIV officially recognized James' son as King James III of England and VIII of Scotland after his death.

Armed with these facts I then went back to the Database and eventually found two more bindings linked to Louis XIV and Mary of Modena, these bindings showed many similarities to the Breviarium as well as sharing common tools. The obvious answer to my search immediately jumped to mind, these books, one of which was owned by Louis XIV would most probably have been bound by his Royal binder somewhere in the period between 1688 and 1701.

Then returning quickly to "An Essay in the History of Gold-Tooled Bindings" by Herbert P. Horne London 1894, which is a fantastic source of just such details, I found the following facts...
"Antoine Ruette appears to have been succeeded, as Binder to the King, by Claude le Mire, whose name appears neither in the registers of the Guild of St. Jean, nor in the works of La Caille or Lottin. He is first mentioned in the check-roll of the officers of the Royal Household, for the year 1664 and it would seem, that he held this office, conjointly with Gilles Dubois, until his death in 1698, when he was, in turn, succeeded by Luc Antoine Boyet.

In 1684, this celebrated binder was living in the Rue des Sept Voies: at which time, as it would seem, he had already been made free of the Guild of St. Jean. Later, in 1692, his house was in the Cour d'Albret About the year 1698, Boyet became much entangled in the disputes, which were then disturbing the Guild: and he was one of those, who opposed the indiscriminate grant, by the Wardens, of its privileges; while he, in turn, was taxed with having obtained his own freedom by favour. The royal breve appointing him Binder to the king, in the place of Claude le Mire, is dated 23rd November, 1698. He died in his house, in the Rue du Mont Saint-Hilaire, on the 22nd February, 1733."

It would appear then, that there is a strong possibility the binder of these books may have been Claude le Mire, or even possibly Luc Antoine Boyet. However the easy part of this research was starting to wither, as the British Library database makes no mention of either of these two Binders, nor could I find a single mention of the 17c binder Claude Le Mire within billions internet pages! Entering his name along with that of Louis XIV, into Google come us up dry!

All my internet searches were not without some benifits however as I did come up with some good leads on how to proceed further with this research. I was often coming across the name "Raphael Esmerian", as well the publication entitled "Bibliotheque Raphael Esmerian"

Published in French by Georges Blaizon, Paris 1972-1974, Hardcover 6 volumes, uniformly bound in pale blue-green cloth with gilt titles and the Esmerian chop on the front covers, auction catalogues for the sale in Paris, profusely illustrated, many tipped in. One of the most impressive collections ever offered at auction: (1) 1er Partie: Manuscits a peintures & Livres des XVe et XVIe siecles - Illuminated manuscripts and Books of the 15th & 16th centuries, some with the arms of Francois Ier, Henri II, Catherine of Medicis, Diane de Poitiers, Henri IV and others. 186pp, 126 lots + index, (2) 2eme Partie: Reliures de quelques ateliers du XVII siecle & Livres en divers genres du XVIIe et XVIIIe sciecles - Bindings from several workshops of the 17th c, and Books of divers types of the 17th & 18th c, some with arms of Anne d"Autriche, Louis XIII, Louis XIV, Louis XVI, Mme de Maintenon, Marie-Antoinette, Marquise de Pompadour, Duchesse de Polignac, Cardinal de Richelieu and other notables. 183pp 168 lots indexed. (3) 2eme Partie-Annexe: 12 Tableaux symnoptiques sur la reliure au XVIIe siecle - 12 Analytic Tables on 17th c Bindings. A tabulation of the work of various bookbinding workshops and artists with their known production, marks, devices and stamps. Unpginated. (4) 3eme Partie: Livres illustres du XVIIIe siecle - Illustrated books of the 18th c including unique examples of books with original drawings and extremely rare examples of etchings, proof impressions and collateral editions, as well as beautiful bindings. Large number of tipped in plates based on the original drawings and etched or engraved reproductions. 105pp 107 lots indexed (5) 4eme Partie: Livres illustres du XIXe siecle, receuils de dessins origaux de David, Isabey; Goya; Faust de Delacroix, albums de lithographies par Daumier, Gavarni, Isabey & receuils de dessins de mode - Illustrated books of the 19th c., with original drawings by David, Isabey; Goya"s Caprichos, Tauromachie & Proverbios; Redoubté"s Roses; Goethe"s Faust illustrated by Delacroix, Lithographs by Daumier, Gavarni, Isabet; Fashions of the time. 123pp 125 lots indexed. (6) 5eme Partie: Livres illustres modernes (1874-1970), receuils de dessins originaux d"Erte, Garbier, Steinlen, Legrand, Lepere, Laboureur, etc., Livres de peintres de Braque, Bonnard, Chagall, Derain, Dufy, Denoyer de Segonzac, Laurencin, Maillol, Manet, Matisse, Miro, Picasso, Rouault, Signac, Toulouse Lautrec, Villon; et tres belles reliures. - Modern Illustrated books including some with original drawings; Livres d"artiste and beautiful bindings. 147pp 142 lots indexed.

Naturally such a publication is relatively expensive even second hand, too expensive for most, but indispensable for our purposes so I set about tracking down the most important parts first which was to my mind the 2eme Partie-Annexe: 12 Tableaux symnoptiques sur la reliure au XVIIe siecle - 12 Analytic Tables on 17th c Bindings. A tabulation of the work of various bookbinding workshops and artists with their known production, marks, devices and stamps.

This I managed to find online in Switzerland being sold on its own and it seems that it may not always found in "complete" sets. From a comparative study of the tools detailed in this Annex I was sure to be able to not only identify the binder of the Breviarium, but also a good number of other important bindings.

While waiting for the Annex to arrive I started the time consuming job of scaling and isolating the tools of all four bindings so as to be able to assemble them together on one page
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Comparative Diagram - Breviarium tools

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