Category Archives: libraries

Arnoldi Mylij – printer/bookseller

I’ve just started reading Peter Blayney’s first tome on the Company of Stationers. It is a weighty book not only because of its contents, but literally heavy in terms of its construction. It is choc full of information about the formation of this most important association, and I have already learned the difference between scriveners, limners and textwriters….And I won’t tell you; you’ll need to get volume one for your self.

To cut a long story short, as I am reading about this English association, I am wondering whether other important printing centres had similar organisations. I keep searching. In the meantime, let me show you some initials and fleurons created or used by Arnoldus Mylij. The following information has been gathered from a variety of sources on the internet, notably the CERL thesaurus and the Wikipedias of Luxembourg and France, as well as other bits of information as found in Google books.

Arnold Mylius, or Arnoldus Mylij, born on October 16, 1540 in Vryemoersheim (Friemersheim) in the former county of Moers, died on November 17, 1604 in Cologne. He was a printer and book dealer, active in Cologne between 1585 to 1604. Arnold Mylius was from the family of Myliusse of Dudelange and probably the brother of the famous Jean (John) Mylius.

His father was Herman Mylius and his mother Marguerite von Werdt. After his education, Arnold Mylius  learned the book trade in Antwerp in the establishment of Arnold Birckmann and took over the management as Managing Director for the trust of the heirs of Birckmann. He opened his own printing press, which gained a great reputation and from 1585 was the sole owner of the publishing house “Fat hens” by Arnold Birckmann

For religious reasons, it seems that he moved to Cologne and married a young woman from the family of Birckmann, Barbara Birckmann. She died on April 24, 1596. The couple had three children: Arnold, Marguerite and Herman.

Mylius took part in the public life of the City of Cologne, becoming a Senator of the City. He was buried in the Saint Peter church in Cologne.

In 1576 Arnold worked with Plantin to print the 5th volume of Augustine’s Opera. He paid for half the cost of the paper and the printing, receiving in exchange half the edition to sell. Between 1586 and 1604  he published  over 200 books. The more I research the more I find that there is a very blurred line between bookseller/publisher/printer; a line that changes drastically when publishers are no longer technical middlemen, but deal more concretely with writers and editors than with printers and bookbinders.

Here are some books that I have found:

 

Books attributed to Mylius include:
• contrib.: Commentariorum ac disputationum in tertiam partem Diui Thomæ. Tomus tertius. : Qui est primus de sacramentis ; in quo ea continentur, quae post praefationem indicantur / (Moguntiæ : Ex officina typographica Balthasari Lippij : Sumptibus Arnoldi Mylij., Anno, M.D. IC), by Francisco Suárez, Saint Thomas Aquinas, and Balthasar Lipp, also contrib. by Weston School of Theology and Domus Lugdunensis

* contrib.: Ioannis Genesii Sepuluedæ Cordubensis Sacrosanctæ Theologiæ Doctoris, Caroli V. Imperatoris, historici. Opera, quæ reperiri potuerunt omnia. / (Coloniae Agrippinae, : In officina Birckmannica, sumptibus Arnoldi Mylij., Anno M. DCII), by Juan Ginés de Sepúlveda and printer Officina Birckmannica.

 

Below are some samples of Mylius’ printed historiated capitals dated to 1589, found in “Historiarum indicarum” by Maffei, (MRB Q950.3/17A1) found at the State Library of NSW

Here are some headers, tailpiece and fleurons from printed and published by Arnold and Herman Mylius between 1591 and 1642:

And lastly let’s look at some historiated capitals used by Arnold’s son Herman, in 1647 “Vita et martyrivm S. Vrsvlæ et sociarum undecim millium virginum” (RBq CLI 3908) from the National Library of Australia. I am always interested in seeing how much gets recycled not only within one book, but also from book to book and through time. I have also included letters from the 1622  “De triplici virtute theologica, fide, spe, et charitate / Francisci Suarez” also at the National Library of Australia for comparison. I have taken measurements, but didn’t feel it necessary to include in this post.

As I visit other state libraries this spring and summer, I look forward to corroborating the letters I have already collected and completing missing elements.

There were interesting watermarks, by the way, but that’s for another post.

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Apprenticeships: do we want them and do they still exist?

I have to perform this week: I am making two books for two experienced bookbinders. I need to be better than my best. But I feel like a beginner.

I was just saying to my students last night that I wished I could do an apprenticeship, a “stage” or internship with a bookbinder somewhere. However at just over 50 years old, who would want me?  I don’t mean it to sound bad; I am being realistic. It costs money to train someone.   I consider myself  an advanced beginner. Although I learned much of my skills at the bench, I have gotten to where I am by teaching myself, by reading, by attending the occasional workshop. I need more bookbinding hours under my belt.  And I am the sort of person who needs a teacher at hand. It’s not that I wish to be younger, it’s about having more time.  What I really need is constant teaching, mentoring.  Someone from whom I can get answers to questions. Someone who I can watch and from whom I can learn.

Apprenticeships can last from 4 to 15 years. At work, I see the young paper conservators join us with Masters degrees. Masters of what? Theory. Words. No hand skills. The organisation employs them, but really in their first few years, the institution is training them because they can’t even tear paper. Is it the same for doctors? Do they graduate with no surgical skills? Are they trained in hospitals, in ER wards? Do institutions place any importance on this sort of training? Is this sort of training as good as a piece of paper? I don’t know about where you are, but dare I say that we seem to place more value on a piece of paper than on hand skills and experience.

You need a piece of paper stating that you are a librarian or a historian or a bookbinder if you want to travel up the corporate ladder in Australia. That you only got 51% probably doesn’t matter; the piece of paper is still more important than 25 years experience. How depressing. I am confused. Why is hands on experience worth so little?

Somehow, with the eradication of formal courses at learning institutions and the closures of bookbinding businesses, the opportunity for both formal training and apprenticeships is diminishing. And yet there is plenty of interest out in the world, as seen on Pintrest, Instagram and other social media sites.

Many artists out there do their own binding; some better than others. Some artists get a bookbinder to produce a book for them. Some bookbinders bind sheets into books or rebind books. Some bookbinders might even bind their own works in rather unorthodox manners. Some bookbinders experiment with bindings.

I am not creative enough to produce the inside; I can write, but I need a designer to make it look beautiful. Some people can do both well. When it comes to covers I am still a fledgling. But that is the beauty of art or craft – the ongoing learning journey.

What brought me to write here is a Facebook post. It’s on a bit of a tangent, but it made me think about what makes a bookbinder? Presumably someone who binds pieces of paper together so that they can be transported or read.  Someone was told they were a book artist, not a bookbinder.

Last year’s results

If you go to FB you can probably find the many peoples who supported the binder who posted this. However when you look at the person’s work, you can understand why the critic said what he said. What I think he meant was that this person was an amateur without hands skills trying to be a professional. Is that what the critic meant by book artist? I dare say many people, book artists,  would be incensed by that statement.

What is the difference between a book artist and a bookbinder? Is there a class system within the bookbinding fraternity?

I don’t pretend to know the answer. My only point of reference is whether or not the work is well executed. When you look at the results of bookbinding competitions, the fine binders who exhibit are artists; they design and create on covers, like any fine painter. So are they not also book artists?

You can go to YouTube and find bookbinding lessons by well meaning people. I once saw a person use a toilet roll and PVA on leather to make a fake rounded spine with leather covering. I was cringing with embarrassment in my lounge room, but this guy was so happy to share his knowledge that I didn’t really know how to react. He was just trying to get people to bind, and he was enthusiastic, and from a distance the end product looked OK. As a binder I was shaking my head in disbelief that this sort of information is out there, ready to assail the unwary.

Bookbinding is a lifelong learning journey. One must strive to learn the basics well; to continuous improvement of one’s current skills and then to build up those skills. So i come back to the notion of apprenticeship and mentorships. It’s all a great big circle.

 

Any thoughts?

 

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The bindings of Paris printer Simon de Colines (Simoneum Colinarium)

This is a book blog, but for some time now I have been distracted with title pages, historiated capitals and pagination that form parts of the book.

While researching watermarks, and having a hard time finding paper makers amongst all the photos of watermarks, I had the thought that if I could relate the watermarks to the printers we could find out from where the papers came.

What has become apparent to me is that it was a very small world and everyone knew each other or were related in some fashion. The confusing aspect of printing is that sometimes they latinised their names and sometimes they didn’t. So a printer may have had many variant names.

Simon de Colines, or Simoneum Colinarium was an active Paris printer between 1520 and 1546, one of the first of the Renaissance. He worked exclusively for the University of Paris between 150 and 1546. Colines used elegant roman and italic types and a Greek type, with accents, that were superior to their predecessors. These are now called French old-style, a style that remained popular for over 200 years and revived in the early 20th century. Some of his typefaces have been the basis for many  later typefaces,  such as Garamond.

Let’s first examine bindings of his texts: “Orontii Finei Delphinatis, regii mathematicarvm professoris, de mundi sphaera, siue cosmographia, primave astronomiae parte.” Printed in Paris 1542.
RB 520 F495 (NLA)

This is a half binding but the corners are missing, more than likely a rebind. Leather spine with pastepaper sides, marbled paper endsheets.

“Lucanus,” RB Fitz 148 (NLA) Printed  Paris 1543 is a full calk binding with blind tooling on cover. It has recycled parchment manuscript as pastedown, and as you can see, sewn on 3 supports

and  “E Kaine diatheke” RB CLI 3106 (NLA) Printed Paris 1534 is also a rebind. It’s a reback, meaning that the spine (or back) has been redone. The spine panels are fully gold tooled and there is evidence of gold tooling on the bands. The edges are well gilt and it has double colour sewn endbands.

I am sorry some of these pictures are blurry; I think I need new glasses!

In addition to his work as a printer,  de Colines worked as an editor, publisher, and punchcutter. During his lifetime, he published over 700 separate editions (almost 4% of books published in 16th-century Paris). He used rabbits, satyrs, and philosophers as his pressmark. He married the widow of Henri Etienne, with whom he had worked, training his stepson Robert Estienne (Stephanus as he became known).

As with all printers he had variant names: Simonem Colinaeum,

Maybe now we can look at some title pages and some historiated capitals

I’m trying to see if the same letters were used in different books. De Colines printed in Greek and Latin. In the books I have seen, the large historiated capitals are found mainly in the first few sections. The next sections may contain factotums or much smaller capitals. The first volumes were paid much more attention than later volumes, where there were sometimes no historiated capitals at all. In the Orontii blank spaces were left for the later printing of larger capitals, which never eventuated.

But for this period, this dotted background is very typical.

Many printers also have what known as a printer’s device, a brand or logo. Often it gets passed down to the various people who take on the printing shop. Sometimes  during a printer’s lifetime a printer may have several devices at play.

 Latin motto TEMPUS (Time) HANC ACIEM SOLA RETUNDIT VIRTUS is translated “virtue alone withstands this blade”. Note the forelock on Time–so that one may seize Time by the forelock.

Another device is rabbits with the initial SDC. I have not yet found this one. See below:

Image courtesy POP Provenance Online Project  Woodcut for Simon de Colines device

Till next time

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James Flesher: Printer for the City of London Publishers

My next project is a beauty! It’s all about printing. But what about the bindings?

The most exciting part of this research is memory. I am looking at headers and letters. I could swear I’d seen some of them before? But have I really? I have come to wonder if they didn’t copy each other’s designs. Or maybe they swapped or sold type to each other. Sometimes the same design appears in different sizes. Easy to do with a computer today, but imagine having to make three or four sizes by hand?

In the blur of information, it seems that designs were used and recycled by printers. Could this be true?

In my research for The Perfume of Books, I came across James Flesher.  Flesher, or Fletcher(?) was the son of Miles Flesher, printer, and father of Miles II, bookseller. He lived and worked in Little Britain, a part of London in around 1650. I had to look up Little Britain, because I have come across this term quite a bit lately, and of course there is the television series. I never realised it was a real street in London. I trawl the Internet for information, Wikipedia, the CERL database. Sometimes I am lucky to get a lot of information on printer’s lives. Sometimes there is hardly any. All I have at hand are books which Flesher printed. Many of Flesher’s books have red ruled title pages.  The Criticri Sacri interestingly enough, has no historiated capitals. The letters are quite plain, as is the paragraphing.

The capital letters were all taken from the books below. If you look at the “T”, Flesher had many designs. The thistle appears quite a lot in this period, not just with Flesher, but with other printers as well.

1660 Ductor Dubitantium or the rule of conscience in all her generall measures RBq CLI 4226 (NLA)

 

1660 Critici sacri: give doctissimorum virorum in SS biblia RBq De Vesci 65 (NLA)

 

1662 Basilika: the workes of King Charles the martyr : with a collection of declarations, treaties and other papers concerning the differences betwixt His said Majesty and his two Houses of Parliament RBq De Vesci 1076 (NLA)


1665 The history of the Church of Scotland : beginning the year of Our Lord 203, and continued to the end of the reign of King James the VI ,RBq MISC 112  (NLA)

I am sifting through the thousands of photos I have amassed, and looking to complete alphabets. I’ll keep posting about printers, their bindings and their type.

Thanks for reading. Comments appreciated.

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Driving force of research: strange watermarks and beautiful vignettes.

During the past few years I concentrated my research on books mainly from France, Italy and England. Luck of the draw really. However as my research draws to a close and my book on watermarks is now at the printer, I find myself with nothing to do. Haha , says she! Actually, when is research ever finished?

I have decided to turn my research data into a series of books called the Booksleuth Series. Why not?After all I as a rare book detective I am detecting strange and or usual marks in rare tomes.

These marks, although not that rare in the scheme of things. were all found in books by Spanish authors. The research needs some sort of focus, some sort of purpose. So I will be seeking examples of early Iberian writing in Australia.  I’ll be looking for early texts on theology, probably from Jesuit collections. These are more likely to be bound in vellum, and I can’t wait to see what watermarks are hiding in them.

From NLA collection RBq MISC 179.

I won’t just concentrate on watermarks and bindings. Now that I have a little nit more experience, and curiosity, I will be looking at the chapter headers and the motifs and vignettes used by printers.  Watch this space.

If you know any books worth examining, please send me their titles. Sharing information is one of the main reasons that drives me.

cheers

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About a book: Annali ecclesiastici tratti da quelli del Cardinal Baronio per Odorico Rinaldi

What is this book? This is what I found:

I went looking for this book because I was searching for Vitale Mascardi’s alphabet. I had seen one other book, and it only had one historiated capital in it. I went to check, in case I had gotten it wrong, but couldn’t find anymore within the pages. The title page is signed: Daniel Widman FET. I imagine it means he sculptured the plates. The CERL Thesaurus has a Daniel Widman as student of philosophy in Ingolstadt. How many Daniel Widmans could there be at that time?

This one had two capitals:

Ok, 3, but I already had the “H” so it doesn’t count. After the first few pages, he dispenses with niceties and just uses bold type.

Mascardi was known to have printed books in the vernacular Italian; I’d say quite a feat in the mid 1600s. The rest of the book has italic and regular print. Printers out there please forgive my lack of correct vocabulary; I am still learning.

Before we go on about the ecclesiastical annals he printed, let’s look at the binding. In all the books I have examined, I don’t think I ever found primary and secondary endbands on the one book. I mean, I might have, but never noticed. Look here:

Seeing this, I now understand the practicality of having  primary and secondary endbands. If you have ever struggled with the core remaining still on the edge of the spine as you wind your threads, struggling the once with winding around a core of the primary allows you to create beautiful design with the secondary. Why hadn’t I thought of this before? But imagine how much time this must take? So in the mid 1600s, if we say that an edition run was roughly a thousand printed sheet sets, how many sets would have been bound? This must have been done lovingly, or at least with a great degree of care.

Then of course on this binding we get to see the linings: full transverse linings made from printer’s waste or bookbinding recycling? Will we ever know?

 

And besides the recycled linings, you can also see the sewing structure.

Getting back to the book, what’s it about? Twelves centuries of the history of  the Church. Written in vernacular Italian, was it meant to educate the people?  I went to Wikipedia to educate myself. Not a far fetch that its title page plate was engraved by a philosophy student.

Let’s go back to the previous book:

Antiquae urbis splendor, hoc est praecipua eiusdem templa, amphitheatra, theatra, circi, naumachiae, arcus triumphales, maunscles aliaque sumptuosiora aedificia, pompae item triumphalis et colossaearum imaginum descriptio

This is a delightful landscape book, limp vellum binding, filled with images , as described in its title, of encampments, buildings, cities. Printed by Mascardi, with hardly any text. And one historiated capital. Engravings sculpted by Giacomo Laurus,  engraver and stub publisher(?), according to CERL.

Before I leave you, take a look at these headpieces which he repeatedly used. No ther factotums, fleurons or other ornaments. (I am trying to dazzle you with new found jargon from the glossary at the Fleuron Database)

I am collecting information for another project……

In the next post I’ll show you some watermarks….

Comments, opinions, ideas always welcomed.

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A book of sermons

This has changed from being simply a book binding blog to other things about the book.

I found a book of sermons the other day (RB MISC 801 – Sermao do mandato pregado na sancta see metropolitana desta corte & cidade de Lisboa, no anno de 1653 / pello Diogo Cesar). The problem with this title is that it is a collection of sermon pamphlets, printed at various different times, between roughly 1685 and 1733, by various different printers.

I suppose if you were just looking for sermons in portuguese this discrepancy wouldn’t matter to you. But I am trying to collect samples of vignettes, motifs, lines and  historiated capitals and associate them with specific printers.

So let me just show you some title pages from these sermons:

Here are some of the historiated capitals used by these three printers

 

 

What is interesting about these images is the use of one tool to make an elongated image. Unlike binders who had decorated rolls they could push along and single gouges they pressed into the bindings, I would imagine that printers needed to have a bit of type stock to create  differing patterns. Were the header vignettes printed at the same time as the text? Or did they print them afterwards by hand perhaps, hence the lack of straightness in some vignettes? The repetition of one stamp can make for interesting pattern.

So lastly, some watermarks because I had nothing else for the workshop of Miguel Deslandes.

 

 

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Discoveries

So I am in the last section of the watermark book, having sent The Perfume of Books to the printer just this week.

I am working feverishly to get all the info corrected, add printers and do basic checking of the photos.

Today I discovered a few things:

  1. that the book entitled :
    Iournael vande Nassausche vloot, ofte Beschryvingh vande voyagie om den gantschen aerdt-kloot, ghedaen met elf schepen : onder ‘t beleydt van den Admirael Jaques l’Heremite, ende Vice-Admirael Gheen Huygen Schapenham,

    was written by one Johannes van Walbeeck (attributed) and printed by  Iacob Pietersz Wachter. Had I opened my eyes and read the title page, I would have read it months ago. But noooo. I relied on the internet.

  2. I had taken photos of lots of watermarks, and promptly forgotten about them. All were across the gutter, and not very easy to decipher.  However some of them are quite interesting.

Here is a screen shot. I am going this afternoon to Office works to print them out so I can make white outlines.

watermark-discovery-copy

Original and enhanced images, awaiting white outlines. Because they go across the gutter, they are a bit hard to make out.

I happily spend hours researching this stuff; but if I had to write out a grant application and answer the question: How does this research benefit Australia and Australians? what do you think the answer would be?

FYI

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A printer and his devices

If you don’t already know, I’m writing two books on books. What started out as a relatively simple endeavour, has turned into an event bigger than Ben Hur. It’s not the writing; it’s the fact that I gathered so much information on the way, it is bursting out of my head. I want to use it all.

While I check over my information on watermarks, I thought I would include the printer’s name. I figured that would be a great way to perhaps correlated paper with region, usage and printer. Turns out that some printers go by variant of the same name.

Take Moritz Georgius Weidmann. This is his printer’s device:

 

two globes as a printer's device

Weidmann printer’s device of two globes on title page

His name appears in red. However in the book his name appears as Mauritius Georgius Weidmann. If you search the CERL database of European printers, you will find many other variants of his name. His son, bearing the same name,  continued his practice after his death; it is therefore hard to distinguish between one and the other.

Getting back to too much information. In researching printers, I then found out that they used particular type or particular alphabets. If I’d actually thought about it, this seems quite obvious. So here are some examples of Weidmann (Weidman) capitals:

Just for your information.

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Invisible animals in your books – watermarks

Since I had a little time on my hands today, I thought I’d publish some animal watermarks. These images will be from the upcoming publication, The Secret Life of Watermarks, due in March 2017.

If you don’t know what a watermark is, it is a wire design that is stitched onto the paper mold. The stuff (yes that’s its actual name) or paper pulp is then gathered and smooched about on the mold and couched in piles, pressed and dried. This is a very basic explanation. Further and more complex details can be found all over the internet and in books such as Dard Hunter’s Papermaking (Dover Press).

So where the stuff touches the wires, less pulp is deposited and when the sheet dries there is a space, not really an impression, but more a lack; an image appears when you hold the sheet up to the light.

Why animals? i don’t know. Who actually knows. There are no papermaking tales about why watermarks began, or why certain symbols were chosen. However the watermarks exist. The tête de boeuf or Bull’s head is one of the more ancient marks as it represents resilience and calm strength. In the 15th and 16th centuries printers had allied themselves with painters, whose patron saint was St Luke. St Luke’s symbol was the bull; so this may be one reason why the tête de boeuf was a popular mark for so long.

The big difference in the bull’s heads can be seen in the eyes, the ears and the nostrils, all changing shape.  There are blank bull’s heads, heads with a variety of eyes, heads with nostrils or a strip for a nose, and the ears can change shape. The horns remain the same, however above the head there can be a variety of sticks with crosses, stars or snakes.

Snakes: are found in Italian, French and German papers. While they may have been associated with Italian families, the snake denoted a type of thin paper called “serpente” (Briquet VolIV). These were usually high quality papers. Paper from Milan, home of the Visconti family, usually had the snake devouring a child or saracen. Sometimes the prey is just a little round ball.
Snakes found on edges of paper generally come from the South West of France, from towns such as Toulouse, Pau, La Rochelle and Narbonne.

Birds in various shapes can also be found hiding inside books from the 16th and 17th centuries. Let me show you a peacock:

Some watermarks are hard to make out. I asked my son Max to photoshop some colour and printing off some hard to see watermarks. another way for me to better visualise the image was to print out the photos and use a white marker to trace the lines; only the lines I could see. I had to stop myself from assuming where lines might be.

The stag is seen as often as the bull’s head. While it originated in Italy, there are many variants of this image all over Europe. Most common are the head and antlers, with the antlers as double lines.

Maybe that’s enough for today. I need to get back to finding out more about the watermarks!

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