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Annals of Parisian typography : containing an account of the earliest typographical establishments of Paris; and notices and illustrations of the most remarkable productions of the Parisian Gothic press online

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books were reprinted in an abridged and mutilated
form : and often with little attention to accuracy, or to
the credit and feelings of those authors or annotator-s
whose names they bore. Sometimes the price of
obscure and worthless publications was enhanced by a
false date, place, or subscription: for, as the art was
cultivated with superior accuracy in some cities of Italy,
and at VENICE more especially, the names of such
places appearing in the title, were found to give superior
sale and currency to the impression.

Whatever might be the original intention of such
particular MARKS and DEVICES, adopted by early printers,
after these literary frauds began to prevail, they became
at least so far useful, as to render such frauds less
practicable. BENEDICT HECTOR, a considerable printer
of Bologna, in his impression of " Justin" and " Florus"
anni 1 505, fol. thus addresses the purchasers " Emptor
attende, quando vis emere libros formates in Officina
mea excussoria, INSPICE SIGNUM quod in liminari
paginast ; ita nunquam falleris. Nam quidam malevoli
Impressores libris suis inemendatis et maculosis appo-
nunt nomen meum, ut riant vendibiliores ; quo pacto &
mihi & nomini doctissimi Philippi Beroaldi derogant,
vel potius derogare intendunt." In like manner IODOCUS
BADIUS of PARIS, in one of his impressions anni 1516
" Oratum facimus Lectorem ut SIGNUM inspiciat, nam
sunt qui titulum nomenque BADIANUM mentiantur, et
laborem suffurentur." (d) It was however by no means
impracticable for one printer to counterfeit the device
of another, in addition to the fraudulent assumption of
his name and designation. A ludicrous instance is

(d) Chevillier ut supra*


upon record, of such an attempt ; which betrayed itself
like a counterfeit coin, by the clumsiness and inaccuracy
of its execution. .Certain printers who were so disin-
genuous as to counterfeit a popular production of the
ALDINE press, were thus. exposed to public ridicule in
the preface to the Aldine Livy, 1518, 8. " Extremum
est ut admoneamus studiosissimum quemque, FLOREN-
TINOS quosdam Impressores, cum viderint se diligentiam
nostram in castigarido & imprimendo non posse assequi,
ad artes confugisse solitas ; hoc est Grammaticis Institu-
tibnibus ALDI in sua officina formatis, notam DELPHINI
ANCHORS INVOLUTI nostram apposuisse: sed ita egerunt
ut quivis mediocriter versatus in libris impressionis
nostrae animadvertat illos impudenter fecisse. Nam
ROSTRUM DELPHINI in partem sinistram vergit; cum
tamen nostrum in dexteram totam demittatur."

RENOUARD has also observed that many others of those
printers who were contemporary with the Aldi of Venice,
hoping by t this mark of the ANCHOR and DOLPHIN to
recommend their own impressions, were eager to avail
themselves of such an advantage. Some fraudulently
.counterfeited the mark itself, others invented something
analogous to it. Various Italian printers of considerable
eminence disgraced themselves by these disingenuous
artifices. But the printers of Lyons carried such
audacious forgeries to a far greater length than any
others, and Renouard has cited a particular memorial
drawn up by Aldus himself on the subject, and published
at Venice anno 1503. (e)

It can however be scarce pretended that this precau-
tionary use of the MARK was actually in the contemplation

(e) " Annales de Tlmprimerie des Aide," torn. ii. pp. 63,
& pp. 207,

of its original inventors. Some even of the impressions,
of FUST and SCHOEFFER, and other printers of the
earliest periods, have such marks subjoined to their
subscriptions. Those of Fust and Schoeffer are two
"ECUS" or shields, exhibiting the arms of these
respective artists; though as the author of " L'Histoire
de rimprimerie" (f) has shewn, Fabricius and others
have misinterpreted them. As many early printers have
omitted to subjoin their names to certain works, such
marks have enabled bibliographers to ascertain with
certainty their place and origin. Where both mark,
note of place, date, and printer's name have been
omitted, a like use has sometimes been made even of
the PAPER MARKS ; which appear to have been of an
usage perhaps almost as remote as the manufacture of
that article. Amongst other notices of this kind, the
reader may consult the work last mentioned.

The marks used by learned printers, afterwards
became more miscellaneous and general, and exhibited
an amusing display of the ingenuity, erudition, piety,
or, as we may venture to add, sometimes of the fanciful
caprice of the inventor. Thus JOHN the son of PETER
SCHOEFFER, who also printed at Mentz, adopted the
ARMS used by his father, but with a variety of whimsical
changes; for in the " champ" or field of the device,
he introduced SHEPHERDS with their dog and sheep, in
allusion to the name " SCHOEFFER," which signifies
shepherd, (g) The classical origin of the ANCHOR and
DOLPHIN of ALDUS is well known. It was borrowed
from a medal of the emperor Titus ; and the hierogly-
phic is supposed to correspond with that ADAGE which

(/) " AlaHaye1740,p.45.
(g) Hist de rimprim. ut supra, p. 49,


is said to have been the favourite motto of AUGUSTUS 1 !
" (TTcevSe Ppadeug." On the subject of this mark the
reader will find much entertainment in the " Adagia"
of Erasmus, under the title " FESTINA LENTE;" and
that scholar embraces the same opportunity of explaining
the REBUS or DEVICE of his favourite printer JOANNES
FROBENIUS, of Basil. " If, says he, princes on this
side the Alps would encourage liberal studies with as
much zeal as those of Italy, the SERPENTS of FROBEN
would not be so much less lucrative than the DOLPHIN
of ALDUS. The latter * lente festinans' has deservedly
gained for himself no less wealth than reputation. As to
FROBENIUS, whilst he constantly carries his " BACULUS"
or staff erect, with no other view than the public
advantage ; whilst he departs not from the SIMPLICITY of
the DOVE ; whilst he exemplifies the PRUDENCE of the
SERPENT not more by his device than by his actions; he
is rich rather in reputation than in an estate." (h) The
device of VINDELINUS RIHELIUS of Strasburg, which to
a superficial observer, might seem the offspring of mere
caprice, is in reality an emblematical representation of
NEMESIS, and may be classically illustrated by a
reference to the Epigram of Xenocrates :

WARN'D by the GODDESS, with her SQUARE and REIN,
Measure thy ACTIONS, and thy TONGUE restrain.

(A) Quod si pari candore principes Cisalpini prosequerentur
honesta studia cum Italis, FROBENIANI SERPENTES non tantum
abessent ab opibus DELPHINIS ALDINI. Hie " lente festinans"
non minus auri sibi peperit, quam nominis, utroque dignus.
FROBENIUS dum BACULUM semper erectum gerit, non alib
spectans, quam ad publicam utilitatem ; dum a COLUMBINA
SIMPLICITATE non recedit ; dum SERPENTUM prudentiam non


with his motto " LABOR ET CONSTANTLY," include a
moral not less useful. The same thing may be said of
the fine image of TIME, conspicuous in the impressions
of the apostolic emblem of the OLIVE TREE, with its
" NOLI ALTUM SAPERE, SED TIME," Maittaire discerns
an evidence of the humility and Christian piety which
characterized that distinguished typographer.

There is a work extant, by ORLANDI, iutitled
te NOTIZIA delle MARCHE degli Antichi e moderni
Impressori," which I have hitherto had no opportunity
of consulting, (i) But the author of " L'Histoire de
I'lmprimerie" before cited, gives no favourable account
of it. He says these notices are very ill executed : that
even the names are given in a mutilated and unintel-
ligible manner ; and that in the explanation of the
marks of printers, the author frequently falls into
ludicrous errors, of which the following instance is
given. In the two STORKS, the motto of CRAMOISY, of
which the younger is represented bearing food to the
parent bird, which even children might understand to
be an appropriate emblem of filial piety and affection,
this author discovers a battle of CRANES in the air,
without having paid the smallest attention to the motto ;
"HonoraPatrem tuum, & Matrem tuam, utlongsevus sis

magis exprimit insigniis suis quam factis ; fama potius dives est
quam re. Erasmi " Adagia." Art. " Festina Lente."

(i) Renouard also speaks of a " Recueil des Marques
typographiques" published by R. Scholtz, at Nuremberg, arm.
1730-32, fol, Annales, " ut supra, torn. ii. p, 63,


super terrain;" and to other emblems of kindred signifi-
cation, with which the angular points of the INSIGNL
are furnished. He refers to pages 237 and 24-2 of thi^
inaccurate work.

On the subject of MARKS I may presume to add, that
the earliest " Relieurs" or BINDERS, a race of men who
at these times probably considered their vocation of no
mean importance, affected also to distinguish themselves
by devices of a similar nature. Very rude and singular
designs cut on blocks of wood, and impressed upon the
exterior superficies of the volume, are sometimes found
on well preserved specimens of ancient binding; lo
which the names or initials of the ingenious artist are
annexed ; whence it evidently appears that ornament
was not the sole motive for using them. For various
and singular specimens of this nature, it may suffice
to refer the .reader to those libraries which abound
in early printed books, and to the cabinets of diligent
and curious collectors.

WITHIN the period of twenty years after the intro-
duction of PRINTING at PARIS, we find the number of
those who practised the art in that city, including
GERING and his associates, increased to thirty-five :
and the commencement of the succeeding century
witnessed the enlargement of this list in an almost triple
proportion. Of these artists, who varied greatly both
in the number and value of their impressions, several
distinguished themselves so eminently as to merit
our particular notice. Amongst these was PASQUIER
BONHOMME, whose earliest impression, " Les Grands
Chroniques de France'- in 3 vols.fol. bear* the date of
1476 : he was one of the four principal " LIBRAIRES >'
of the University : and assumed for his INSIGNE the


image of S. Christopher. The year 1480 exhibits the
name and commencement of ANTOINE VERARD, who
with respect both to the variety and curious description
of his impressions, may justly be considered as one of
the most interesting of all the early typographers of
Paris. Very numerous indeed were the impressions
executed by this zealous printer, separately or in
conjunction with others. De la Caille renders the
same testimony. fc VERARD," says he, " was one of
those who gave to the public the greatest number of
works ; and particularly of ROMANCES : of which" he
adds, " there are extant more than a hundred volumes,
printed upon vellum, ornamented with beautiful
miniatures, and exhibiting the most studied and exact
imitations of the manuscripts from which they were
copied." (k) Such very magnificent, ingenious, and
costly ornaments bestowed upon these Gothic produc-
tions of the French press, give a characteristic peculiarity
to them, perhaps above those of most other countries.
The letter indeed chiefly employed in them, though
often denominated by the general term Gothic, is
rather a species of semi-Gothic j and probably was cast
in imitation of the character usually met with in
exquisitely finished manuscripts which were of an
age not very remote from the invention of printing ;
at which period also, it is very probable that the art
of ILLUMINATING, and embellishing with miniatures in
gold and colours, was cultivated in its highest luxury.
The impressions of ANTOINE VERARD and of several
of his cotemporaries, having often been taken off on the
finest vellum, for the gratification of the rich ; and at

(fe) Hist, de PImpr. ut supra.


their liberal expence thus superbly ornamented ; exhibit
a most agreeable union between the labours of the PRIN-
TER, and of the SCRIBE and ILLUMINATOR. And since
the art of the latter has long been lost through disuse,
they are treasured up with the greatest care as monu-
ments of former national magnificence, and the only
remains of a species of art which was once so extensively
and ingeniously practised.

ANTOINE VERARD used for his DEVICE the ARMS of
FRANCE, under which in a compartment is a cypher,
probably intended to express the whole of his surname.
These with other minor ornaments are included in a
parallelogram, round the external margin of which we
read the following inscription in Gothic characters,
bounded also by double parallel lines :-^r
J. H. S,



Of the name MARNEF, there were three brothers who
were associated together, at least on some occasions.
Their mark is thus rather confusedly described by la
Caille : " Des Grues qui font un nid en volant, un
Perroquet qui parle, un Pelican qui donne la vie a ses
petits, et trois hastens, sur lesquels sont les premieres
lettres de leurs noms, viz. GEOFFROY or GODEFROY,
ENGUILBERT, & JEAN." Their earliest impression,
according to Panzer, bears the date anni 1481.

commenced his zealous labours by the impression of
two " Missals" anno 1481 : NICOLAS DE PRATIS,
probably a brother of the former, by " P. Terentii
Comoedige" fol. 1483 : these were also distinguished


ANTOINE CAILLAUT began to exercise the profession
anno 1483, and continued to print anno 1505. In 1483
also GUIDO MERCATOR or Guy MARCHAND is said to
have commenced his typographic labours. His impres-
sions were numerous; but Chevillier has assigned to
him a distinguished place amongst the most ignorant
printers of the day. In reality a book was printed by
him anno 1493 with this title " Elegantiarum viginta
Praecepta ;" which title is reprinted on the second leaf;
and the volume thus concludes " Elegantiarum viginta
Praecepta." A copy was preserved in the library of
the Sorbonne. Instead of this printer's name, his
impressions sometimes have merely this notice " in
domo Campi Gaillardi." Some of them exhibit on
the reverse of the final page the representation of a
CORD WAIN ER at work, with all the implements of his
profession about him : which this printer may therefore
be supposed to have adopted as his whimsical device.

brother of PASQUIER, and JEAN HrGMAN, a German,
began severally to print about the same period. The


DRIARD were somewhat later. PIERRE le ROUGE
(Rubeus) and JEAN CARCAGNI commenced anno 1487 :
son of the ancient printer of that name, WOLFGANG
MICHEL LE NorR (Niger) all severally, with others,
in 1489. The last of these was a printer of very
considerable interest, whose impressions are held in
high estimation by the admirers of early Parisian


typography. His MARK is thus described by M. de la
Caille " Une roze en face sur un fond de sable,
softtenue par deux MORES & une autre pour timbre,
le tout faisant allusion a son nom," with these lines


He continued to a late period, and was succeeded by
his son PHILIPPE, a printer also of considerable esti-

Of other names of Parisian printers, which occur
from 1490 to 1500 inclusively, I shall content myself
with mentioning some of the principal. Those were
DENIS ROCE, whose favourite motto was " ALAVEN-


JEHAN TREPPEKEL, who printed both in his own name,
and occasionally in conjunction with JEHAN JEHANNOT :
but as TREPPEREL did not long survive to exercise the
art, the name bf his widow (VEUVE TREPPEREL) is
far more conspicuous in the annals of the Parisian press :
GUILLAUME EUSTACE, many of whose impressions are
curious and estimable : PIERRE LE DRU: JEAN PETIT or
JOANNES PARVUS, probably the father of a numerous
progeny of printers, and himself the most enterprising
typographer of his time. De la Caille assures us that he
found employment for the presses of more than fifteen
" Imprimeurs " of his day. To his INSIGNE he sub-
joined the words PETIT A PETIT, in allusion to his own
name. IODOCUS BADIUS, surnamed AscENSlus, and
HENRI ESTIENNE the elder, both belong to this period :
but as these distinguished artists stand so nearly
connected with ROBERT and HENRI ESTIENNE, I shall
assign to them a distinct and more particular mention;
Not to extend then our -present notice to less con-
spicuous individuals of this early series, TmEJLMAN

From " Les Croniques de Froissart." 1518, fol.


KERVER must however be mentioned, as having distin-
guished himself much amongst cotemporary printers ;
especially by his beautiful impressions " en Rouge et
Noir," in which he was probably exceeded by none.
Under his direction, and at his charge, some of the
painted windows which ornament two of the finest
churches of PARIS were designed and executed ; and
on them la Caille says his CYPHER was at the period
when he wrote still to be seen. FRANCOIS REGNAULT
was probably the last of the series whose commencement
was not later than the year 1500. He was also a most
industrious printer ; and his impressions are numerous.
The well known DEVICE of this artist is an ELEPHANT,
upon the back of which is placed a CASTLE, bearing
the initials of his name : which appears also in full on a
scroll beneath.



Remarkable Productions

Parisian (iotfnc


JL HE GOTHIC PRESS of PARIS, by which general
name we may be allowed to designate the INFANCY of
its TYPOGRAPHY, both on account of the prevailing
use made of that character by the earliest Parisian
typographers, and to distinguish it from the more
learned " IMPRIMERIES" established there in after times,
was by no means fruitful in valuable classical impres-
sions. FRANCE could probably boast at that period of
few or no manuscripts of the works of ancient Greek
or Roman authors. Those precious remains of antiquity
were chiefly confined to Italy ; or at least had been
conveyed to that fortunate country, when the revival of
karning excited the zeal of Italian scholars to every
possible exertion for the discovery and acquisition of
them. Their early proficiency in classical literature
enabled them to illustrate such works by ingenious
annotations ; and thus to give them with advantage to
the public by means of the newly discovered art of


PRINTING, at a time when the Cisalpine schools and
seminaries of learning had scarcely emerged from the
barbarism of the middle ages. GERING therefore, and
the other earliest printers of PARIS who evinced the
greatest zeal for the impression of classical works, could
do little more than attempt a reimpression of those
classical productions which had issued from the presses
of the most meritorious printers of Italy. Early books
of Parisian classical typography must consequently be
valued at present chiefly as specimens of the compara-
tive infancy of the art. After the exertions of GERING
and his associates, and of GflESARis and STOL, the
printers of PARIS appear for a time to have declined
rather than increased in ardour for the diffusion of
classical literature. Yet on other accounts the GOTHIC
press of Paris will be found an interesting subject of
inquiry. Many of its productions are strongly indicative
of the natienal manners and character. Those which
pertain to the ecclesiastical ritual, and devotional sub-
jects, possess, as I have before observed, a singularity
of embellishment, and magnificence of execution which
are almost peculiar to them. The early poetry of the
French, their chronicles, their romances of chivalry,
and the kindred fruits of their GOTHIC PRESS are
equally characteristic : and to an English reader, the
connexion of their early literature with our own, or
rather the influence which it had upon the speculations
and manners of our own country, and the direction
and tone which it gave to our pristine habits and
pursuits, must render EARLY FRENCH TYPOGRAPHY a
subject of particular curiosity.

PANZER has enumerated 751 TITLED of Parisian
impressions before the close of the fifteenth century,
Deluding those which occur " sine nota anni." Ajt the


end of the year 1507, in which the first GREEK PRESS
was established at PARIS, the foregoing number appears
to have been increased by 241 additional impressions,
exclusive of a few more articles of Parisian typography
which this diligent bibliographer has enumerated in the
supplementary volumes of his extensive work. From
Panzer's list I propose to select those articles which appear
most curious and interesting ; and to illustrate them by
such notices as I have in the course of my own reading
or personal observation been enabled to collect. The
candid reader is intreated to accept this list or catalogue
as a specimen, not only of the " Editiones Parisienses
saeculi XV." but also of a method of annotation by
which detached parts of Panzer's elaborate work might
be agreeably illustrated.


GASPARINI PERGAMENSIS Epistolarum opus. 4.

This book and the nine following, though ce Con-
suetis Typographic; notis orbi" were certainly executed
" in Sorbonae domo ab ULRICO GERING,' MARTINO
cites the rude Colophon of this impression :
Ux SOL lumen, sic doctrinam fundis in orbem,

Musarum nutrix regia PARISIUS.
Hinc prope divinam tu, quam GERMANIA novit

Artem scribendi, suscipe promerita.
Primes ecce libros, quos haec industria finxit

Francorum in terris, aedibus atque tuis.
Hos impresserunt, ac facient alios.

The preceding volume derives additional interest from
the dedicatory epistle by FICHET prefixed ; which



Ghevillier has cited as illustrative of the earliest efforts
of Parisian typography. (/)

LUCII ANNMI FLORI de tot a Historia Titi Livii
Epitome in quatuor libros divisa. 4.

ROBERT us GAGUINUS Lucei Annei Flori lectoribus
salutem optat.

Quos NULLA in terris concluserat ora, Quirites,

Haec flori obstrictos parva tabella capit.
Etquaeque eximia produxit Livius arte,

Bella, duces, pompas, rite coacta tenet.
Quo vere exemplo vobis sperate futurum

Qui faraa et quaestu fertis in astra gradum.
Post tumidos nisus, pest saeva pericula sortis y

Ad manes raptos vos brevis urna teget.

(/) GUILLERMUS FICHETUS Parisiensis Theologus Doctori

MISISTI nuper ad me suavissimas Gasparini Pergamensis
Epistolas, nbn a te modo diligenter emendatas : sed a tuis
quoque Geripanis Impressoribus nitide et terse transcriptas.
Magnam tibi gratiam Gasparinus debeat : quern pluribus tuis
vigiliis ex corrupto integrum fecisti. Majorem vero coetus
doctorum hominum : quod non tantum sacris literis, qua3 tua pro-
vincia est, magnopere studes ; sed redintegrandis etiam Latinis
scriptoribus insignem operam navas. Res sane te viro doctis-
simo^t optimo digna. Ut, qui eum laude et gloria Sorbonico cer-
tamini Dux prssfuisti, turn Latinis quoque literis, quas aetatis nos-
trae ignoratio tenebris obumbravit, tua lumen effundas industrial.
Nam praeter alias complures Literarum graviores jacturas hanc
etiam acceperunt, ut librariorum vitiis effectae pene barbarae
videantur. At vero maxime laetor hanc pestem tua provident!^
tandem elirninari procul a Parisiorum Lutetia. Etenim quos
ad hanc lirbem e tua Germania Libraries ascivisti, quam


C. CRISPUS SALLUSTIUS de conjuratione Cattlina et
de belld Jugurthino. 4. In fine.

NUNC parat arma virosque simul (sibi) rex Maximus orbis

Hostibus antiquis exitium minitans.
Nunc igitur bello studeas gens Pariseorum,

Cui Martis quondam gloria magna fuit.
Exemplo tibi sint mine fortia facta Virorum,

Qua? digne memorat Crispus in hoc opere
Armigerisque tuis Alemannos annumeres, qui

Hos pressere Libros, arma futura tibi.

GUTLLERMI FICHETI Alnetani, artium et theologize
parisiensis Doctoris, Rhetoricorum libri ires, Kc. 4.

Online LibraryWilliam Parr GreswellAnnals of Parisian typography : containing an account of the earliest typographical establishments of Paris; and notices and illustrations of the most remarkable productions of the Parisian Gothic press → online text (page 4 of 24)