Tag Archives: endbands

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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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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Historic binding structures: a photo essay

In my previous post I touched very briefly on the books I had been examining. I thought I’d just provide more pictures so you could get a better idea. I think there is something fascinating about discovering that bookbinding really hasn’t changed much at all in 400 years.

RB CLI 4283 – The institution laws and ceremonies of the most noble order of the garter, 1672.
This is one of the first books I ever saw in the rarebook stack, and what captured my eye was the illuminated script on the spine lining.

What an interesting lining

What an interesting lining

 

Speckled edges black and red

Speckled edges black and red

Composition of a cover

Composition of a cover

While dusting the books I couldn’t help open them of course. Interestingly enough many old papers have stood the test in time, not only in its robustness but also remaining pristine, not discolouring like many old books.

Here are some examples of paper:

RB CLI 3273 – Hamlet or 13 plays performed at Drury Lane and Covent Garden Theatres

one of four different watermarks in Hamlet

one of four different watermarks in Hamlet

Plate from a collection of 13 plays performed at Covent Garden

Plate from a collection of 13 plays performed at Covent Garden

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

RBf 483 H588 Hesychii Lexicon, 1746

RBf 483 H588 Hesychii Lexicon, 1746

RBf208 B669 Vol4- Bonaventura Opera, 1589

I look at these pictures a lot because this must have been painstaking work. Note the beading on the spine side and the many tie downs.

Bonaventura Opera - Italian endbands with beading on spine, double supports like sewn

Bonaventura Opera – Italian endbands with beading on spine, double supports like sewn

 

Note the recycled bit of hand written script

Note the recycled bit of hand written script

I am partial to sewing; I find it quite relaxing.

RBf CLI 3865 double support link sewn, 1628

RBf CLI 3865 double support link sewn, 1628

RB Misc 3194 Conciones quadragesimales 1701 double supports sewn as one

RB Misc 3194 Conciones quadragesimales 1701
double supports sewn as one

I do have many more photos, but it is hard to chose from them.  You might just need to visit the NLA and get them brought up from the rare book stack.

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Discovering historical bindings

Bonaventura Opera - Italian endbands with beading on spine

Bonaventura Opera – Italian endbands with beading on spine

 

In my daily line of work I don’t get to be creative and neither do I get to see many books of great rarity. However, over the last year and a half I’ve had the privilege of doing some dusting in the Rare Book stack at the National Library. You would be amazed at the amount of dust that can accumulate on the edges of books!

4 weeks worth of dust

4 weeks worth of dust

Just recently I bought Jane Greenfield‘s ABC of Bookbinding. It contains  drawings of historical structures; it has made a  complicated chain of technical events relatively simple to understand. And it has helped me understand the  interesting discoveries I’ve made in the stack. I can now also use some of the knowledge I gained at Prof Pickwoad’s course at the London Rare Book Summer school, entitled European bookbinding 1450-1830. Here is an example of comb lining:

Comb lining

Comb lining

 

I never thought I’d see one. I was only able to discover the full extent of this lining because its cover was in a state of disrepair. The lining was made from old hand written parchment, probably recycled from another book or a workshop reject.

recycled parchment lining

recycled parchment lining

more handwritten recycled material for guards

more handwritten recycled material for guards

It’s one thing to read about recycling of historical materials, it’s another to find it.

I am particularly interested in endbands, those decorative bits that sit on the head and tail of the book.

 

Double endband

Double endband

 

tied down through parchment lining

tied down through parchment lining

endband tied down through linen reinforcement

endband tied down through linen reinforcement

 

Sewing endbands gives me particular satisfaction; it’s a bit of  a Zen thing. The silk or cotton that you try to sew around a cord core hides the edge of the spine while you try to make a pretty pattern at the same time. This is what I made:

Endbands as taught in Fine Bookbinding

Endbands as taught in Fine Bookbinding

 

After viewing some 60 photos of old books someone just asked me this morning if I had any shots of how modern books were made. I had to think for a while. What is striking is that bookbinding as a craft has not changed much in over 400 years. Sure people have become innovative, and fine binders today work with care and precision.

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Using old news papers as spine linings

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This is not to say that the binders of old didn’t, but i do believe that as printing made it easy for  books to be mass produced, binders were under pressure to keep up with demand, and may be care was not such a premiun need or product for most people.

Last year I presented 2 papers on the books in the rare stack. At the New Zealand Book Symposium I focused on how I applied learned knowledge to identify bindings of the books in the stack, and at the Bibliographic society of Australia and New Zealand conference I shared my excitement at the discoveries I had made.

recycled parchment used as comb lining

recycled parchment used as comb lining

To be frank, I don’t have an affinity with laced in covers. I quite like case binding and simplified binding. However I do like the look of seeing the cords laced into the covers, something modern binders try to hide.

two supports sewn as one

two supports sewn as one

I have hundreds of photos that I could share; but I have neither the time nor the space to do so. What I would really like to do is spend time in the stack cataloguing a sample set of books, describing their bindings in details. But alas, that is not my job!

I’ll leave you with this beauty I found:

 

Laced in cover, but stitched with alum tawed tongs?

Laced in cover, but stitched with alum tawed tongs?

IMG_2980

If I make any more discoveries I’ll let you know.

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