Seventeenth Century Finishing Tools - France

L'Atelier de Macé and Antoine Ruette.


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Macé Ruette bindings 1632 and 1634

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The reproductions of 1632 binding shown above, is from Volume 2 of Raphaël Esmerian's 1972 Auction catalogue, item number 11, I show the item details below as well as Esmerian's story of his research concerning the Hubert de Montmort collection of Ruette bindings. The 1634 binding is found in a 1908 Théophile Belin catalogue, LIVRES PRÉCIEUX (see cover below). We can see that in 1908 the bindings of Macé Ruette were virtually unknown and that this binding along with so many others has been attributed to Le Gascon. Thanks to Esmerian we know now that these bindings were probably made in the time frame of 1632 to 1634.

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In Volume 2 of Raphaël Esmerian's 1972 Auction catalogue, we find on page 9 a chapter entitled ATELIER MACÉ RUETTE. In this chapter Esmerian relates the history of the Hubert de Montmort bindings. "It was a little after 1620 that the young Hubert de Montmort (1600-1679) started collecting freshly printed books (Elzéviers) and took them to Ruette to have them bound." Esmerian states that he studied 35 of these bindings dating from 1620 to 1634, and noticed certain changes in the tools that Ruette used. By observing the printing dates of the books Esmerian was able to trace the chronlogical changes in Ruettes choice of tools and style. From 1620 to 1630 the fleuron used for the interior frame was a small vase of flowers, after 1630 it was replaced by a larger imprint (fer a gerbes).Which is what we see in the corners here, I have numbered this imprint as mr-29, see further research on this page.

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