French Decorative Bookbinding - Eighteenth Century

Louis Douceur fl. 1721 - 1769
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Pictured above is item No. 97 from the 1972 auction catalogue of Raphael Esmerian (Vol. II, page 135, No. 97.) As we have shown on the previous page the imprints found on this binding are identical to imprints found other bindings attributed to Louis Douceur. Below is a collection of the main imprints extracted from item 97.

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Finding authentic Douceur bindings is not easy and we are indeed fortunate to discover two examples in the British Library Database of Bookbindings. As these bindings are identical (Davis 543 and Davis544) I suspect that they are volumes one and two of Della natura delle cose, by Lucretius (Italian translation by Alessandro Marchetti) Amsterdam [i.e. Paris] 1754, 2 volumes. Below I have reproduced an enlargement of Davis544 and the data for Davis 543. Below these I have placed a diagram of the extracted imprints (click on the diagram to see an enlargement).

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Please note that all images from the British Library Database of Bookbindings are subject to Copyright
see also Reproductions

543 data

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The British Library examples are an extraordinary find, with excellent reproduction quality as well as a calibrated photo from which we can scale exactly all our imprints. However our luck was not to end there, for I was able to find was to find another 1754 Lucretius, also with a dentelle by Douceur. This I have reproduced below, it is from a 1955 Giraud-Badin catalogue entitled: Livres Illustrés du XVIIIeme Siècle. This is item number 90 in that catalogue and within the description of this binding it is noted that although the binding is not signed, it is probably from the workshop of Louis Douceur as it is similar to a Douceur binding reproduced by Gruel, (tomb 1 du Manuel, p. 85. For the moment I do not have this reproduction by Gruel, however we can add the new imprints found here to our collection, I was going to do that with a diagram on this page, however we may as well put the whole collection together on the next page.

Sometime miracles do happen and this is what you are going to find on the next page where I am going to show you yet another 1754 Lucretius set from the atelier of Louis Douceur.

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