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So early as 1401, the binders of books were granted a charter by Charles VI to form a guild, which continued in active operation until 1791, although the gilders and forwarders separated, the gilders to form an association of their own in 1686. And even after the disruption of guilds, the encouragement to the art of binding was continued by the State after 1798, through what have been called "Assises industrielles" or Expositions. Napoleon himself issued the order for the second exhibition in 1801.


The first important name in the list of French bookbinders is that of the Eves, Nicolas, who was binder to Henry III; Clovis, binder to Henry IV and Louis XIII; and Robert, son and successor of the latter. These men appeared upon the scene when the style of binding had already assumed racial characteristics in its natural development from the bindings of Italy introduced by Grolier, those adopted from manuscripts, and the early books of the first French printers. Their names associated with the intricate and graceful branches of foliage, spirals, and flowers, evolved quite naturally from the curved lines and graceful fleurons of the earlier styles, which were interspersed on the field in the spaces between the interwoven curved and straight lines of the bands which now extended across the cover forming irregular shaped panels. Such designs. are called "fanfare." Many of the most beautiful bindings of this kind are said to have come from their hands, just as the duplicating of the design of the front on the back cover and the harmonious designing of the back of the cover are asIcribed to them.

Another name of importance, belonging to the latter half of Louis XIII's reign, is that of Le Gascon, a binder about whom almost nothing is known. To him are ascribed bindings with designs based upon the earlier forms, but executed with tools having dotted outlines, thus producing an effect that seems to show that their originator was strongly influenced by the laces of the day — and it was the day of wonderful laces. The finest bindings of this kind are those in which the field-the spaces between the bands — is filled quite solidly with filmy patterns, leaving the fillets themselves as if in relief. It is the custom of writers on this subject to call Le Gascon the greatest of binders.

A large family bearing the name of Padeloup became famous through the admirable work of Antoine Michel of the

name, who lived during the first half of the eighteenth century, and who, with the Derômes, may be said to represent the best of the art of binding in the reign of Louis XIV. In Padeloup's bindings appear a new set of tools, quite different in character from those which preceded them. A new arrangement of the ornament, of the division of the space to be decorated, a freer use of leathers and colors, and, perhaps, most noticeable of all, an entire departure from the older forms of bands and fleurons characterize his work. It is customary to recite at this point a story of the appearance of a volume of Daphnis and Chloë by Longus, published in 1718, having on its covers a diaper formed of a mosaic of small pieces of varicolored leather, which marked an epoch in bookbinding. These diaper patterns in mosaic were favorites of Padeloup and his followers, many of them recalling the delightful volumes bound for Margaret of Valois in which the tooled branches of leaves divide the cover into panels, which have in their centres the daisy and lily emblems of this princess.

If Le Gascon may be called the finest of binders, Padeloup may be safely characterized as the most individual. He was an innovator, and he is distinguished for his departure from the conventional. Many bright-colored bindings ascribed to him, some bearing his name, with large conventionalized flowers, leaves, and other ornaments suggestive of the study of Chinese porcelain and stuffs, were as far as possible from what had preceded, and furnish the excuse for much of what has been done in the nineteenth century.

While adhering to the older styles in the main, Jacques Antoine Derôme, most distinguished of a long line of binders of this name, by his perfection of workmanship, his adaptation of the lace-like patterns of the previous century, made heavier and stiffer, and by his application of his ornament as a border to his covers, takes rank among the most important in the history of the art.

Many other names exist, some attached to the bindings which their bearers executed, but by far the greater number without such identification. Among them are Badier, Bradel, Boyer, Dubuisson, Duseuil, Le Monnier, Piqué, and Ruette, all following the styles of the times in which they lived.

In the reign of Louis XVI, prettiness was the key-note of the binder's art, ex

aggeratedly charming and graceful sometimes, in the hands of the best men, working in the traditions of Padeloup and Derôme, but like all of the arts of the period, rapidly declining from the beginning furnished by Padeloup's art. Inlays of lace, miniatures, colored paper, and tinsel covered the little almanacs and frippery diaries. In a period of decadence, these volumes, like the frivolities of the last years of the tottering monarchy, came to an abrupt end.

With the nineteenth century came the rise and fall of styles in quick succession, following daintily in the footsteps of the more serious realities of political events. The styles of the Empire, the Restoration, the Second Empire, and the Republic crowded close upon one another. Napoleon's adoption of the classical style of decoration in his architecture and decorations, was followed by all of the arts and crafts, bookbinding among them, and the borders of frets, palmettes, garlands, trophies, and other Pompeian things, as translated by the architects, Percier and Fontaine, found their way, in the hands of the Bozérian brothers and their followers, to the covers of books. This was done, however, after a timid dallying with the graceful dots and floral sprays of the one really great English binder, Roger Payne, whose designs proved then, as ever since, tempting, but baffling of reproduction. Most of the bindings of the period are characterized by their straight-grained moroccos and their thin and careless tooling when compared with the work of Derôme and of the following decade.

Under the Restoration, Thouvenin, Purgold, and Simier were the most important binders. With heavier tools, more solid gilding, bastard fleurons, the wheel and heavy stamps, they produced original combinations of some merit, in which the predominating motives were adapted to the cover spaces with ingenuity. The culmination of their style expressed itself in architectural forms, Gothic traceries and rose windows, "à la cathédrale," a sympathetic expression of the Romantic literature of the time.

There came, about 1830, a reversion to type, in the hands of the most impeccable of binders, Trautz-Bauzonnet, and the tools of the Eves, Le Gascon, Padeloup, and Derôme once more found their way to the covers of books with a splendor of the most accomplished tooling, in the richest gold, the most sumptuous leathers and doublures (the insides of the covers)

which have ever been seen. It was what Marius Michel has called it, a period of "archæological zeal." It was a period also of a new kind of collector-patron, of the societies which were now formed to print books, and to collect them. There sprang up a furore for collecting, for binding, and especially, for the bindings of Trautz, prices of which soared to fantastic figures, a furore which assumed such proportions that it has been characterized by the name of "Trautzology."

It was but natural that an episode like this should come to an end. The younger men, from 1870 to 1885, under the influence of the new art, "art nouveau," which had its inception in England, began their struggle against the "archæological," raising the standard of individualism - the expression of themselves and of the subject of their books. Now for the first time was heard the plea for the characterization of the book in the design of its cover.

We have said that fine bindings depend upon patronage for their existence. With the fall of the Empire, patronage in its old sense died, but a new kind arose with the formation in 1874 of an association of collectors calling themselves "Les amis des livres," who determined to produce books in which authors, artists, printers, and binders were to collaborate in obtaining harmonious results.

Publishers, also, like Conquet, C. Lévy, P. Dauze, A. Ferroud, Romagnol, and others, were quick to follow in the new development, associating with them the best artists and illustrators of the day, like Félix Bracquemond, Adolphe Lalauze, M. Leloir, A. Lepère, and many others.

With the movement, the binders were intimately associated, and very important factors they were. Entirely new relations between the contributors to the production of the book came into existence. The binder from being a workman, became a person, an "artist;" he began to write books; to exhibit in salons of his own; and, generally, was one to be reckoned with. The whole period is distinguished by his ambition to surpass and to obtain recognition. Men trained in the rendering of the archæological styles, pastmasters in the art of gilding, like those whose works are in the Spencer Collection, Gruel, Canape, Capé, Chambolle, Cuzin, Lortic, Mercier, and Marius Michel, broke away gradually but surely from the traditions, to make and execute their own designs. The desire for har

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mony between the cover and the book extended even to materials and methods of workmanship, as for instance - an extreme one-in the "Aurora Australis" of the Spencer Collection, for which the wood of a packing case which contained provisions for the British Antarctic expedition of 1907, is used.

Mosaics, in the richest of leathers, crushed and plain, cover the sides, backs, and doublures of these books, while the richest of silks, satins, and other stuffs are often added to give greater luxuriance. New methods for the treatment of the leather, unheard of before, are adopted, such as modeled leather to produce the effect of sculpture in relief; chiseled leather, to produce the effect of etching; and material other than leather, such as porcelains, metals, and enamels.

Many of the designs made under the influence of these new conditions are varied and striking, having no suggestion of anything which had gone before, with the possible exception of some of Padeloup's most extreme mosaics in the Chinese style. They range through the conventionalized renderings of motives, the partly conventionalized to the naturalistic, and they embrace all forms of ornament, animal, vegetable, and human. The influence of the Japanese method of ornamentation, for which a craze had been worked up, and the influence of the picture-poster, are strongly felt.

Perhaps the most striking thing about these modern bindings is the large size of the lines with which the design is constructed, epecially when compared with the delicacy of line of the older forms of decoration. This is due to the bigness of the design itself,-large wreaths of flowers and leaves, large birds, or butterflies, large pictures covering the whole of the boards, and not to any lack of skill in the rendering of this part of the binder's art. Skill was never more in evidence, it had never been called upon to such an extent, and technical difficulties hardly seem to exist except to be played with. Largeness is the keynote to the whole


Of the individual binders, Marius Michel may be said to be the dominating spirit, the most original and important name today. While master of the older styles, there is no method of the new styles that he does not essay with an individuality which may easily be distinguished from those of his competitors. Although thought so revolutionary at first, his designs have come to be accepted as the best examples of the search for a new style. In the twentysix books collected by Mr. Spencer, the range of Michel's work in mosaics is well shown, especially his fondness for partly conventionalized flower motives. Illustrations of five of his bindings are given herewith.

In the twenty-nine examples of Émile Mercier's work collected by Mr. Spencer may be seen the perfection of gilding by this "impeccable" master of that art, one who has never advanced so far afield from the traditions as Michel, but whose designs are always characterized by elegance and taste. One of the illustrations herewith shows his binding for Gautier's "Jean et Jeannette."

Léon Gruel, while not so strongly individual in his designs as Michel, is yet as versatile in his methods of expressing them. His chiseled bindings, like the "Imitation of Christ" here shown, are good examples of his work.

To be convinced of the consummate workmanship of the French binders, to see the extent of their manual dexterity, one has but to examine the gilding and the inlaying of these men, and of Lortic and Joly. Theirs is the skill of the goldsmith and the enameler. Whether or not the art of their designs is as great as that of the older binders, it is idle to discuss at this time. Decorative art is good if it serves its purpose well, is appropriate, and is well done. It is certain, however, that the best of the work of the presentday binders, like that shown in the Spencer Collection, will take its place in the history of book-binding, together with the work of the Eves, Le Gascon, the Padeloups, and the Derômes.

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