French Decorative Bookbinding - Eighteenth Century

Pierre-Paul Dubuisson - painted binding c. 1748.

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(Click on this image to see a 300 dpi enlargement.)

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The binding reproduced above is found in a 2009 Alde auction catalogue, this is item 119 and it has been well described by the Alde expert, Dominique Courvoisier. I will try to approximately translate his description of this binding....

White calf leather, gold tooled and painted with red and blue, The decoration is composed of a flower inside a decorative framework (rocaille - a style of ornament developed in the 18th century and characterized by sinuous foliate forms.) Spine decorated with floral motifs (gold tooled and painted), inside dentelle, and pink (salmon colored) silk paste downs. The binding is attributed to Dubuisson (son of the elder.)

A very rare item , gold tooled and hand painted by Dubuisson, with his etiquette engraved by Francois after one of his drawings (see Leon Greul, Manuel Historique Et Bibliographique De L'amateur De Reliures, 1, p.88)

Pierre-Paul Dubuisson, active from 1746 to 1762, was a guilder, heraldist, and painter of miniatures. He probably designed himself the plaques that he used to decorate the Almanachs Royal, and offices de la Semaine Sainte. His plaques in the 8vo octavo formate are well known however those in 12 or 24 are much less common. The bindings in white calf, were most often mosaics

Dubuisson was apparently the only binder doing this kind of work, gold tooled bindings that were then painted, Only a few of these bindings have survived, the one we see here is very well preserved, (looking as fresh as the day it was made.)

Below I have reproduced another Dubuisson binding that appears to have a lot in common with the first example. This is from the British Library Database of Bookbindings (davis560). Here we can see he has used one of his 8vo plaques and then added the floral decoration in the center. He has painted over this with red and blue paint, note the treatment of the drawer handle roulette that frames the plaque, is the same.

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Heures nouvelles dediees a la reine, Paris 1749.
British Library Database of Bookbindings (shelfmark Davis560.)
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Comparative Diagram 1 - Dubuisson plaques.
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Comparative Diagram 2 - Dubuisson imprint pd-7-4.

I show in Comparative Diagram 2, an important Dubuisson signature imprint, pd-7-4, it can be seen at the base of the flower in the British Library example Davis560, the British Library have attributed this binding to Dubuisson, however, we notice on the binding shown below, this same Dubuisson imprint. This binding is Davis564 and the database info for this item, lists the binder as, Derome le jeune. (British Library Database, shelfmark Davis564). For further reading concerning Dubuisson bindings that have been attributed to the Deromes, please see this page

comparative diagram 2
L'office de la Semaine Sainte, Paris 1758.
British Library Database of Bookbindings (shelfmark Davis564).
(Click on this image to see an enlargement).

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Comparative Diagram 3 - 600 dpi enlargement, Dubuisson imprints pd-7-4 from Davis 564 and Davis 560.

Click on this link to return to: The Dubuisson links page.

information about the author return to the home page of VIRTUAL BOOKBINDING

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