Diane de Poitiers
Claims made for the earliest gold toolcd bindings to have been made in the Work
shops of Aldus Manutius in Venice would now appear to be legendary but never-
theless the collection of tools shown above and which impress solidly are still
called 'Aldine' in the modern bindery and are often in use.
Mention must now bc made of the great bibliophile Jean Grolier whose magnifi-
cent library enriched the world with numberless superb bindings of original design
and beauty of execution. A friend and patron of Aldus, he was for some years
(1499-1521) Treasurer of the Duchy of Milan and later Minister of Finances of
France, positions in which he was able to travel and meet the finest printers of the
time and to acquire examples of their work.
At one time it was thought that his bindings were produced in Venice but
recent investigations would show that they are of French workmanship where no
doubt some were designed by that great and all-round craftsman, Geoffrey I ory.
Gröber s early bindings show the use or the solid tool but later as these be-
came larger and more elaborate, they were hatched across with horizontally en-
graved lines and are known as 'azured', a method used in heraldry to denote that
tincture. In the modern Workshop these are still called 'Grolier tools and have
great beauty when arranged 011 their spiralled lines amongst the interlaced strap-
It is interesting that at this period, when libraries becamc larger, the quantities of
books had to be arranged upright on shelves and not lying on their sides and were
consequently lettered on their spines. This part of the book which had previously
been left blank now became part of the design of the whole and was eventually to
show the panel and centre, or emblematic tool, as in use today.
Another great collector at this time was Thomas Mahieu, Secretary to Cather
ine de Medici, whose books were called 'Maioli from inscriptions on them until
his identity was established. Queen Catherine was a great patron of the cratt and
many of her books show the Medici armorials.
On the bindings of many of his books Flenn II combined his initial with that
of his mistress Diane de Poitiers. Her own symbol of three interlaced crescents is
well known. The names of such renowned craftsmen as Nicolas and Clovis Eve are
associatcd with finely decorated bindings for Henri III.