Tag Archives: printing

An ornamental journey

It’s been an age since I’ve been here. I am a bookbinder, but I haven’t had much experience of late, hence nothing much to say. However after a talk with my friend Hannah Brown, I made a few non new year resolutions. Practise. Practise more. So while I would like to participate in more workshops and learn interesting technique, I think at this stage I need to consolidate. So I will practise by making at least five of the same bindings. Saying that I did enter a few experiments in our Guild’s yearly exhibition. Please go visit it at the Civic Library if you are in Canberra, because we are becoming more interesting as the years go by.

The point of this post is to illuminate you further on the things that have been distracting me from binding. Printers’ decorated capitals and other ornaments.

These  are in my Flickr album “Tailpieces”. And to date, these are my best examples of a single ornament used across space and across time. In fact, during the writing of this blog I found yet another example of the same ornament.

It’s like playing “spot the difference”; the same but not quite.

When seen in this light, you have to wonder a few things? Did they buy this pattern from each other? Did they pass it on to each other? Did they duplicate it? Did they buy it from a third party? and on the questions go.

After doing research into the lives of these printers, I have come to realise that the world is indeed a small place. I had thought, erroneously, that people didn’t travel much in the olden days. But at the dawn of printing, news travelled wide and fast. Printers and bookbinders travelled; married the widows of their mentors and their heirs continued their traditions, in new places.

Here is a bit of info about the printers in chronological order:

1577: Johann Feyerabendt is a printer in Frankfurt am Main. Twice married. Related to publisher Sigmund Feyerabend;

1584: Guillaume Rouille publisher and bookseller in Lyon, he apprenticed in Venice as a bookseller with Giolito De Ferrari. He was a printer between 1545 and 1589

1600: Matthaeus Becker, printer at Frankfurt am Main from 1598 to 1602

1605; Sebastien HenricPetri, 1569 to 1627 active printer in Basel, son of Heinrich Petri.

1623: Joannis Gymnich 1570-1634 – and printer bookseller active in Frankfurt am Main and Koln

1627: Johann Saur active printer between 1591 and 1636 in Frankfurt am Main, Marburg and Kassel

1628: Jean de La Riviere

1652: Impensis Societas ecclesiastica active printing workshop in Paris

And as we speak, just today I found the same tailpiece, printed  between 1600 and 1605: 1601 Madrid by the Emprenta Real.

If you look closely they are definitely related but changed in some slight way. Some differences are obvious, some are slight. The main face is different as is the oval underneath it, which may contain initials, a blank or a symbol.Did each printer add something of their own to the block they bought? I thought that perhaps the Germans would be similar and the French would be alike; but that is not necessarily true

As far as I can tell, the 1577 Feyerabendt is the best printed and being the oldest that is perhaps not so surprising. If others are copies, then something gets lost in translation.

Now that I have come back from the London Rare Book Summer School, I understand how these might have been duplicated and sold on. They could be metal replicas of an original woodcut.

I have sat on this blog for long enough. Next week I am off to the middle of the Pacific Ocean, where I will be teaching some bookbinding while on holiday. Don’t know what the internet will be like, but I will have tales to tell; so watch this space!

 

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Tuesday is ink day

My well thought out plan in getting to St Brides early fell on its ear when

  1. I got lost leaving my building
  2. Holborn was exit only
  3. it 9.18am and I have to catch 2 buses to Fleet St by 9.30am

You can see what sort of day I thought it might turn into. However, despite it all, I was not very tardy. Here is the entrance to St Brides Institute.

IMG_7882

The printing workshop is filled with historical printing presses and tools, and in many ways their significance is lost on me; I am sure Australian printmakers  Dianne Fogwell and Caren Florence would be far more appreciative than me. Let’s have a little look at what’s inside:

On to today’s topic: a day with Amy Worthen.

The day was dedicated to the histories of engraved plates and of etched plates, giving us the tools and basic understanding to identify and differentiate between the two techniques.

Her enthusiasm was catching and she was very generous with the information she offered. You could tell she had a lot of experience. It just emanated from her.

There was a set reading list to compliment this session. The sessions, though generalised, took us on a well rounded journey.  There were many historical examples on the slides. I didn’t actually take many notes; I will probably explore the readings at some later date. She explained about the different cutting techniques and how the depth of the cut could change to strength of the printed line.  And since we were in St Bride’s printing room, we could see first hand what tools were used.

Which brings us to the hands-on session in the afternoon.  Amy demonstrated how to hold the burin, and how to cut a line on a copper plate. “It’s like cutting butter” she said.

Seeing the ease with which she made her marks in the plate, and little swirls of copper that grew from her cuts, one would swear it was indeed as soft as butter.

Well, let me tell you that a copper plate is not as soft as butter. We all had a hand at making lines, and the hardest part for each of us was to maintain the correct posture; we needed to us our bodies, not have our wrists or shoulders at strange angles. She helped each one of us. However, just as in tango or bookbinding learning, once you have the acquired muscle memory, the copper plate would be nothing but butter.

Our main aim for the day was to print an etched plate. Mindy had come from the US with a plate her grand-father has etched, so she set about taking an impression from it.

We didn’t even get dirty, even though we each had a go at using the brayers to apply ink to the plate’s surface. We scrimmed and palmed the plate. Here you can see Richard Lawrence, St Bride’s print workshop keeper,  helping us.

The hands-on proved to be the best part of the day for most of us, bringing a better understanding of the morning’s discussion.

And here are some of the results.

That’s it for now. See you tomorrow.

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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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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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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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