This jewel-like binding belongs to the gilded age period of French bookbinding, 1850-1900. It comes from Paris and was published in 1850.
During the gilded age period in France, many new methods were used to enhance and embellish the published book. Labor and time intensive, these methods were used for only for a short period of 50 years.
This binding began as a hard, paper board frame. Pale green paper is applied to the board, which is then embossed in gilt by a large, custom made plaque. This plaque was heated and caused the pattern to be come raised, giving a two dimensional appearance to the finished binding. The gilt shimmers as fine jewelry, and is embossed into sub-patterns which are very textural. The inside edge of the binding is of green paper, with a gilt repeating pattern. The title is placed in an embossed plate on the spine. The front and back covers have a beautiful embossed medallion (green) depicting tools of military battle.
The French text (written for young adults and very easily read by beginning or intermediate students) presents the history of Theodose the 1st, the last emperor to reign under the unified Roman empire (he ruled 379-395). The French text is enhanced by a full frontispiece engraving, and a vignette frontispiece engraving which depict scenes from the life of Theodose. The book was published in Tours, by the company of Alfred Mame (a prolific publisher of this type of binding).
The binding measures 7 1/4" x 4 1/4" x 1/2". It has survived in very sound condition, with little foxing or discoloration to the text pages. The cover boards and spine remain bright and shimmering, with little wear. There is some light wear to the spine and book edges.
This type of binding makes a fabulous decorative accent on a shelf or desk, or is a lovely and charming book to read for a French student
Item ID: LC88
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