The Fourth Generation

The fourth generation of the members of the sixteenth-century French book trade included some of the last great scholar-printers and booksellers of the century: Jean Bienné (d. 1588), Mamert Patisson (d. 1601/02), Abel L’Angelier (fl. 1572-1609), Fédéric II Morel (c. 1552-1630), Adrian Périer (fl. 1584-1629), Denys I Duval (1536-1619), Jamet Mettayer (d. 1605) and Pierre L’Huillier (d. 1610).

 Sidonius Apollinaris, Caii Sollii Apollinaris Sidonii Aruernorum episcopi Opera Io. Sauaro. Claromontensis in Montisseranda subsidiorum curia senator & vicancellarius, multò quàm antea castigatius recognouit, & librum commentarium adiecit. Accesserunt indices locupletissimi, (Paris, 1599), title page device of Adrian Périer.

The challenges facing printers and booksellers of the fourth generation are evident in the careers of Adrian Périer and Denys I Duval. Book markets are strongly correlated with the economic and political climates of their time (since the creation of a publication is a long-term investment for a printer, bookseller or publisher), and unfortunately the end of the sixteenth century marked a decline in the book trade in France. Printers and booksellers had seen their business impacted by the economic difficulties following the wars of religion in the second half of the sixteenth century. The ensuing economic uncertainty meant that long-term projects were viewed as being too risky. In Lyon, the wars of religion had led to the expulsion of many Protestants from the city in the two years following the ‘Edict of Amboise’ of 1563. In Paris, the St Bartholomew’s Day massacre of 24 August 1572 was both bloody and traumatic, and it too was followed by a severe repression. Thus, during the latter half of the sixteenth century leading members of the French book trade (all of whom are represented in the Worth Library), such as Robert I Estienne (1503?-59), Henri II Estienne (1528-98), Andreas Wechel (d. 1581), Jean de Tournes (1539-1615), and François Le Febvre (1550-1629), decided that discretion was the greater part of valour, and fled from France.[1]

Adrian Périer, a bookseller based in Paris from 1584 to 1629, was a Calvinist who stayed behind. Périer was the former ‘factor’ of the bookseller Abraham Pacard and the brother of the bookseller Jérémie Périer. He worked first in Paris from 1584 to 1586 at the address ‘In vico Bellovaco, ad urbanam Morum’ or ‘Rue S. Jean de Beauvais au Franc Meurier’, then in Lyon from 1587 to 1596, before returning to Paris in 1596, the year he married Madeleine Plantin (1557-99), widow of the bookseller Gilles Beys, who had died in 1595. Périer’s device prior to his marriage into the prestigious Plantin printing dynasty, had involved a pump spraying a jet of water, coupled with the motto: ‘Dum premor attolor’ (which he used on both his Paris and Lyon publications). His new wife, was, however, a daughter of the famous Christoph Plantin (c. 1520-89), and no doubt because of this, Périer adopted both the Plantin device of the ‘Golden Compass’, the Plantin motto, and, just to hammer home the point, used, as his printing address  ‘Ex officina Plantiniana, via Jacoboea’ or ‘Rue S. Jacques, au Compas d’Or, à la boutique de Plantin’.[2] Périer’s commercial strategy of placing himself under the patronage of the Plantins was undoubtedly a response to the economic tribulations of the French book trade. As Image 1 demonstrates, Worth’s copy of Jean Savaron’s edition of the works of the fifth-century writer Sidonius Apollinaris bears the famous ‘Golden Compass’ of the Plantins. It was printed by Périer in 1599, the year of Madeleine’s death. He re-married four years later, this time to a Dutch woman named Marie Pinsen-Simon, and he died in 1629.[3]

François Rousset, Dialogus apologeticus pro caesareo partu, in maleuoli cuiusdam pseudoprotei dicteria, Fr. Rosseto authore (Paris, 1590), title page.

Denys I Duval’s firm was likewise connected to a more famous predecessor in the book trade: the Wechel press. Duval was born in 1536 and was a bookseller from 1565 to 1619. He initially worked at ‘Rue des Carmes, pres Sainct Hilaire’, but from 1573 he moved to a new address: ‘Sub Pegaso in vico Bellovaco’ or ‘Rue S. Jean de Beauvais, au Cheval Volant’. His new address reflected the fact that he had taken over the Pegasus press from Andreas Wechel (d. 1581), who had fled to Frankfurt following the St Bartholomew’s Day massacre. Duval’s usual device was based on Bucephalus  (Alexander the Great’s horse), coupled with a Latin motto: ‘Non vi sed ingenio’ (Not by force but by creativity).[4] However, as Image 2 makes plain, not all of Duval’s publications bore his printer’s device: Worth’s 1590 copy of the Dialogus apologeticus by François Rousset (1535?-90?), retains the reference to Pegasus in his imprint information. Duval was married to Jeanne Piscot, who died in February 1621. They had three children, Jeanne, born in October 1574, Jacob, born in September 1578 (who was also a printer), and Gabriel, born in January 1583.[5]

The French wars of religion in the second half of the sixteenth century had a massive impact on the French book trade, which had already been undergoing a decline. As  Colin Claire argues ‘the great printers of the first half of the century, who had combined excellence of book design with scholarship of no mean order, were dead, leaving no comparable successor’.[6] Instead, by the end of the century, scholar-booksellers were being overtaken by perhaps less scholarly and more commercially minded booksellers. These merchant booksellers began to take control of the market after the political instability of the wars of religion: they, rather than the scholar-printers of old, are the dominant figures of this period. However, as Worth’s collections from this period demonstrate, he clearly preferred the publications by scholar-booksellers of the end of the sixteenth century.

Sources

Clair, Colin, A History of European Printing (New York, 1976).

Renouard, Philippe, Jeanne Veyrin-Forrer & Brigitte Moreau (eds), Répertoire des imprimeurs parisiens: libraires, fondeurs de caractères et correcteurs d’imprimerie: depuis l’introduction de l’imprimerie à Paris (1470) jusqu’à la fin du seizième siècle … (Paris, 1965).

Silvestre, Louis-Catherine, Marques typographiques ou Recueil des monogrammes, chiffres, […] des libraires et imprimeurs qui ont exercé en France, depuis l’introduction de l’Imprimerie en 1470, jusqu’à la fin du seizième siècle: à ces marques sont jointes celles des Libraires et Imprimeurs qui pendant la même période ont publié, hors de France, des livres en langue française, 2v. (Paris, 1853-67).

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[1] The date of Henri II Estienne’s birth is unclear: the Library of Congress suggests 1531 and Renouard gives 1528: Renouard, Philippe, Jeanne Veyrin-Forrer & Brigitte Moreau (eds), Répertoire des imprimeurs parisiens: libraires, fondeurs de caractères et correcteurs d’imprimerie: depuis l’introduction de l’imprimerie à Paris (1470) jusqu’à la fin du seizième siècle … (Paris, 1965), p. 143.

[2] Ibid., pp 337-338. Silvestre, Louis-Catherine, Marques typographiques ou Recueil des monogrammes, chiffres, […] des libraires et imprimeurs qui ont exercé en France, depuis l’introduction de l’Imprimerie en 1470, jusqu’à la fin du seizième siècle: à ces marques sont jointes celles des Libraires et Imprimeurs qui pendant la même période ont publié, hors de France, des livres en langue française, 2v. (Paris, 1853-67), printer’s device n° 1240. Périer sometimes used a third device with the motto: ‘Tollit ad astra virtus’.

[3] Renouard et al. (eds), Répertoire des imprimeurs parisiens, pp 337-338.

[4] Silvestre, Marques typographiques ou Recueil des monogrammes, chiffres, Printer’s device n° 798.

[5] Renouard et al., (eds), Répertoire des imprimeurs parisiens, p. 137.

[6] Clair, Colin, A History of European Printing (New York, 1976), p. 166.

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