Paris: Lefevre, 1836. Large 8vo. (243 x 155 mm). With 5 full-page steel-engraved plates printed on India paper and mounted on thick paper (tissue guards foxed as commonly, with offsetting on plates and text opposite). Contemporary French dark red polished calf, covers scuffed spine darkened and a little worn at head and tail, corners bumped, but an attractive binding, perfectly sound and completely unsophisticated. With faults, and priced correctly. Item #3213
Late Empire binding by Rene Simier (1772-1843) of restrained elegance, exhibiting his unsurpassed technical ability. In the nineteenth century, Simier "pere" - with Joseph Thouvenin - brought the art of French bookbinding to its apogee. In his long and distinguished career Simier was appointed binders to Empress Marie-Louise, Louis XVIII, Marie-Caroline de Bourbon-Sicily (subsequently Duchesse de Berry). According to Ramsden ("French Bookbinders 1789-1848") Simier's "variety and technique were superb; he had no superior and few rivals during his career."
Our binding is signed at the foot of the spine the the requisite "Simier R[elieur] du Roi." While there were a number of binders named Simier in the nineteenth century, Rene Simier "pere" was the only one who was appointed Relieur du Roi.
LITERATURE: Didier Travier, "Les Simier, relieurs du roi et propriétaires sarthois" in: Revue historique et archéologique du Maine, 2003, p. 121-163. -- Paul Culot et Denise Rouger, "Louis Médard et les relieurs de son temps. Gustave Durville, Gout fils et François-Noël Jaujon de Montpellier et leurs confrères de Paris" (Lunel: Bibliothèque municipale de Lunel, 2003). -- Elizabeth Mismes, "L’atelier Simier: un patrimoine unique" in: Arts & Métiers du Livre, 2007, no 260, pp. 48-55. See Roch de Coligny's highly informative sale catalogue "Les relieurs des rois de France: L'atelier Simier" (vente Lafon - Castandet - Drouot, 6/2/10). Flety p. 162. Ramsden, French p. 190 and in the Introduction pp. 5-6 where is classed, with Thouvenin and Purold, as one of the "Triumviri."