Glasgow Incunabula Project update (18/8/11)

The ten latest books described and indexed on the project website are:

Many of the books from William Hunter’s collection are found in 18th century bindings. It is frustrating for us today that so much provenance evidence has been lost from his many medieval books in rebinding – but to him, of course, this rehousing treatment would have given his library a contemporary and elegant style.

18th century binding

18th century Parisian binding by Derome - but which one? (Sp Coll Hunterian Be.3.20)

It does mean, however, that the Hunterian books are a wonderful source for researchers interested in 18th century binding. A nice example here may be seen in Hunter’s copy of Franciscus Philelphus’ Satyrae (Milan: Christophorus Valdarfer, 13 Nov. 1476). Hunter acquired it at the celebrated sale of Louis Jean Gaignat (Secretary to King Louis XV) in 1769, so its 18th century French red morocco binding is not suprising. The book is decorated with gold tooling in the “dentelle” or lace style, which became popular in the 1740s.

The binding was attributed to Jacques Antoine Derome by James Basil Oldham (1882-1962) in 1938. Oldham was librarian at Shrewsbury College; he spent the school holidays visiting libraries all over great Britain in search of early bindings, and became an acknowledged expert on English blind stamped bindings. We have the fruits of his labour at Glasgow in a manuscript of Notes on bindings in the Hunterian and general libraries … compiled in 1938 (MS Gen 759).

The Deromes were a family of binders who worked in Paris from the mid 17th century until the beginning of the 19th century. Jacques-Antoine (c. 1696-1760) was the father of three sons who all became binders – the most famous being Nicolas-Denis le jeune (1731-1790). They apparently shared the same tools producing bindings very similar in design, and employed assistants to keep up with the demand for their work. It is therefore difficult to distinguish exactly who did what. Helpfully, some of their bindings are marked by tickets that give the name of the binder (but not in this case). We are not sure on what evidence Oldham assigned this binding to Derome the elder – there is another research opportunity here!



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  1. Glasgow Incunabula Project update (14/11/13) « University of Glasgow Library

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