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A: Lyon, Auvergne-Rhône-Alpes, France

Jean-Vincent Capronnier Gauffecourt Issues the First Separately Printed French Treatise on Bookbinding


In 1763 Jean-Vincent Capronnier Gauffecourt privately issued from La Motte, near Lyon, Traité de la relieur des livres. This was the first separately-printed treatise on bookbinding in French. The author, Gauffecourt (1692-1766) was, according to Pollard, a talented amateur and a friend of Jean-Jacques Rousseau and Mme d'Épinay. He installed a printing press in his house and printed several books in small editions.

Of this manual on bookbinding Gauffecourt is thought to have printed  either 12 or 25 copies, of which Pollard could locate only a single extant copy in a private collection; he located manuscript copies at Cambridge University Library and in the Grolier Club, New York. Chalmers also located a copy of the printed edition in the Bibliothèque publique et universitaire de Genève.The French text was reprinted with an English translation by Claude Benaiteau, and issued in an edition of 300 copies with an introduction by John P. Chalmers (Austin, Texas: W. Thomas Taylor, 1987).

Pollard, Early Bookbinding Manuals (1984) no. 43.

(This entry was last revised on 02-21-2016.)

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