Category Archives: museum

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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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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Booksleuthing some more in an Australian colonial library

Booksleuthing; how I love that term. Yes I feel like a detective of books, finding out about how they were made, who printed them, and the significance of their images. I was never very good at symbolism, and this is a great big learning curve of imagery.

A few months back I visited Sonia’s library at Bedervale. Here is a reminder.

I returned this week for champagne and cheese, and while passing by the library, I couldn’t help but take a few more pictures and search some books.

I found a nice, if not somewhat worn, example of tree calf marbling:

This is a tricky process process involving water and ferrous sulphate being dropped on a piece of leather already attached to the covers. That is a very simple explanation indeed, and there are many articles written on the subject, one of which can be found at Hewitt’s website

However, this article is not about tree calf marbling, rather about discovery.

Lesley had been completely entranced by a travel guide to Syria and Egypt, printed in 1788. Using my handy phone torch in lieu of light sheet, I found these fleur de lis watermarks at the gutter and on the edges of the pages.

The above watermarks reminded me of these below:

This is the first time I have been able to find the same marks in differing books. The one above are in a book printed in 1810 in London,

Introduccion para la historia de la revolucion de Espana bound with An exposure of the arts and machinations which led to the usurpation of the crown of Spain. London, 1808. (RB CLI 3320)

Note that the mark on the left is most similar to the ones I found in the colonial travel book as it is positioned between the chainlines.

Interesting!

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Printer’s devices 1480 onwards

I was looking for some database or images of printer’s devices. These are the branding images used by printers in early books. Since I couldn’t find any, here are the devices I have found, along with corresponding names.I have also included title pages in case I couldn’t find a printer symbol.

I do have a couple of marks for the Plantin printery, the Sonnius printery.

I was searching for the Vatican printers marks. I have seen many books printed by the Vatican by no decisive mark. Anyone out there able to point me in the right direction?

ok, so I got impatient with trying to find all these devices on my computer.

I hope you enjoy them, and as I add more to this gallery I will update the details.

I would be happy to hear about any info you may have about any of these devices.

cheers

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Scandinavian superstitions and folklore – Olai Magni

WARNING: this is a long post, mostly full of (interesting) images. It’s all about one book.

red and blue foredge

The red and blue stripes caught my eye; unfortunately

Historia Olai Magni archiepiscopi Vpsalensis, de gentium septentrionalium variis conditionibus statibusue, & de morum, ritrum, superstitionum … mirabili diversitate  – NLA RBq CLI 4074A (bib ID: 2615549)

did not contain any watermarks.

This tome by Olaf Månsson, (Magnus Olaus), once Bishop of Uppsala, was published in 1567 in Basle. It was printed by Henric Petrina, or Henricus Petrinus. It was probably written while he was in exile in Rome.

 

However this is an impressive tome in many respects; Its pigskin over wooden boards is blind tooled. A series of blind tooled lines have formed panels within which are florets and heads of people, perhaps famous scandinavian heroes, perhaps saints. The centre panel sports a coat of arms with a motto: Reichenstein Casparus ….   ……   ……, with three indistinct small words

Its clasps, which would have closed at the top, are missing.

It is sewn on 4 double supports with a chevron style endband. As is typical of this style, where the supports are laced into the boards, the binder has tooled a little triangle.

I have talked a little about books in the past, and I think I needed to cover more detail. I chose this example because the illustrations inside are terrific. However, let me first show you some of the more quirky things about it.

So, I am not quite sure whether this was meant as a true account of the history of the Scandinavian countries or simply folktales, however the illustrations are fantastical and although humerous to us today, were probably quite scary to those who could read.

Here are a few capital letters which, upon close inspection, are quite hilarious. It is interesting that this style of humour and perhaps also commentary was retained from the art of the illuminators of the previous century.

Here is one map from the text:

Scandinavian map

One map

Illustrations such as these can tell us a lot about what people believed and also how they actually lived. Presumably the details in the images of the boats may be correct, even if the image of the monsters don’t quite gel with reality. The forests on the maps reminds me of Lord of the Rings. This simple map, to me, reflects a simpler time where beliefs don’t always agree with reality : there is a river and a road and some trees, and a village. The unknown, out at sea, is fantastical. This map was not meant to be amusing; it just sought to explain the world. Today’s maps  are very factual and definately not as amusing because with such a numerous population, our maps can’t possibly be that simple.

Look here:

You be the judge of which map you prefer….

Back to the book.

By 1567, the title pages would have now found their modern format: that is title, author, place and date of publication, as well as any printer’s or author devices and branding material, such as cum privilegio or approbations.

This title page gives the reader a short description of what to expect. It also tells the reader that this has the royal privilege; therefore it must be true and good. I wish my latin was better. When books begin to be regularly printed in the vernacular during the later part of the 16th century, reading really takes off.

This printer’s device has gods aiding his labours, possibly Boreas , God of the North Wind, fanning the flames in which we find a hammer wielded by another heavenly being.

This diamond shape paragraphing style doesn’t last long into the early part of the 17th century as a regular print setting. Paragraphing of text, on the other hand, takes a little while to evolve to the indentations and spacing of a modern day text. Here the words are crammed onto the page. It must have been difficult to read.

Lastly here are the folklore images that were the real reason for this blog:

Olai Magni’s book is full of such fantastical illustrations. You can take a look for yourself at the Library in Canberra. Any comments joyfully accepted.

Thanks for taking the time to read to the end.

 

IllInInINtroduction YouYYou be the judge of which map youHere Save

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