French gold-tooled bindings 1507-1967 : major workshops and collectors (2012)

Since the publication in 1951 of Louis-Marie Michon’s La reliure française - an excellent but sparsely illustrated study which is now, inevitably, rather out of date - there has been no serious study of French bookbinding as a whole.

Isabelle de Conihout and Pascal Ract-Madoux aim in their course to fill this gap by offering a close examination of a large number of remarkable bindings from the period 1507-1967. A hundred or so original bindings (and several hundred photographic reproductions) will be presented and described. Although bindings are physically inseparable from the content which they enclose, they also have to be considered as autonomous artefacts. French deluxe bindings in particular have to be considered as works of art as much as historical objects.