Archive for October, 2013

Oct 16 2013

The faerie queen

Published by under Re-issues

Since Halloween is around the corner, I thought it would be fun to post some of the more spooky images from our version of  The faerie queen ; The shepheards calendar ; together with the other works of England’s arch-poët, Edm. Spenser / collected into one volume and carefully corrected.  This copy of the Faerie Queene is largely made up of leftovers from a 1609 run, with the title replaced by a cancel, dated 1611 and serving as a general title for the collection.  A dealer’s catalog describes some of the highlights as containing: “…the Main title with engraved historiated border, engraved decorations on section titles, historiated and decorative initials, head and tailpieces.” Which, quite frankly, really doesn’t do it justice.  Here are the same highlights visualized:



The 1611 Title page with historiated border.



A tail-piece.



A decorative  initial.



Another tail-piece (note the skeleton sitting on a throne.)



1609 colophon, which faces:



The 1611 title page for The Shepheards Calender




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Oct 04 2013

Pius VI Binding and Bodoni’s Craft: a Study in Contrast

Papal Binding of Pius VI

Papal Binding of Pius VI

Today’s treasure from the vault highlights a Papal binding of Pius VI. Pius VI attempted to revive the splendor of the papal court through the promotion of the arts, and the binding certainly reflects a certain opulence.  The two-volume book  is also notable as it was printed by Giambattista Bodoni– the Italian typographer, type-designer, compositor, printer and publisher from Parma.  Bodoni was known for his fine lines, and classical, unadorned style, which contrasts starkly with Pius’ embellishments.


Detail of Bodoni's typeface

Detail of Bodoni’s typeface

For more information and access details, see catalog record:

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Oct 03 2013

Preserving de Thou’s legacy and Walter Welch’s Gift

Jacques Auguste de Thou  (October 8, 1553, Paris – May 7, 1617, Paris) was a French historian, book collector and president of the Parlement de Paris.  He assembled a library of approximately 13,000 volumes, which, unusual for the time, was open to any scholar who wished to consult it. His collection was so impressive that it was said you hadn’t seen Paris until you had seen his library. Today, de Thou’s bindings are highly collectible.  Frequently bound in a simple brown polished calf, with a central gilt escutcheon stamped in blind, along with gilt monograms applied to the spine, his binding’s are also the precursor to the later Bourbon bindings.


Tisch Library recently identified three examples during a re-cataloging project.


The first item is an example of his “bachelor binding” effectively dating its entry into his library sometime before 1587.

de Thou's bachelor binding

de Thou’s bachelor binding

See library record:


The second item item has Jacques-August de Thou arms together with those of his first wife, Marie Barbancon, and with the conjoint monogram “I A M”—ie, his name, Iacques-Auguste with his wife, Marie.


Marie Barbancon and De Thou

Marie Barbancon and de Thou

See library record:


The third item has Jacques-August de Thou arms together with those of his second wife, Gasparde de La Chastre, and with the conjoint monogram “I A G”—ie, his name, Iacques-Auguste with his wife, Gasparde.  (The book’s imprint indicates that it entered his collection after his death, and may have been accessioned by his son.)

Gasparde and de Thou

Gasparde and de Thou

See library record:


All three items were gifts from Walter Welch, and appear to have been purchased specifically for their historic bindings.

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