32mo (binding size 97 x 59 mm). Single quire of 32 leaves.  pp. Some browning. Contemporary mosaic binding of white calf, the covers almost completely covered with onlays and inlays: at top and bottom a gold-tooled red-morocco double cornerpiece frame enclosing at each corner an inlay of painted clouds with a small gold flower ornament (in foil?), overlaid with mica; central multilobular cartouche with 3 frames, each outlined in gold: the outermost frame painted green, enclosing a frame of white gold-dotted calf, partly overlaid by the central frame of onlaid brown morocco, gold-dotted and with small gold-tooled accents of curved feathery strokes and straight ray-like strokes, the four reserved areas between this frame and the central cartouche filled with silver and gold ornaments on a red foil ground, all overlaid with mica; the central oval cartouche within its own brown morocco gilt frame, containing a watercolor image, overlaid in mica, of a saint holding lilies on the front cover, and of Mary Magdalen at Christ’s tomb on the lower cover; spine in six compartments with alternating red and black gilt morocco onlays each with a silver or red mica-covered roundel, “Annee 1760” gold-lettered in second compartment; gilt edges, blue silk liners, blue silk ribbon marker. Slight rubbing to joints and extremities, green paint with a few small chips, else fine; modern two-part case. Provenance: Marie-Rose Bridon [de la Gicquelière]: manuscript leaf with calligraphic ownership statement in red ink, within ornamental border, bound at front: “Ces Heures appartiennent à Marie-Rose Bridon, A Nantes, 1764.”***
A beautifully preserved luxury binding on a miniature Ordinary of Mass. With its onlays of gold, silver and crimson foil and central painted ovals covered in mica, the binding was an appropriate gift for the daughter of a prominent family of goldsmiths.
Jean Bridon of Nantes, born in the early seventeenth century, was the first of his noble Breton family to call himself “sieur de la Gicquelière” (noted in a document of 1646), presumably following the acquisition of a property of that name; he was also the first of a long line of Bridon master goldsmiths. Goldsmithing was considered a noble art at the time, whose pursuit not only did not make a noble lose caste, but could confer nobility upon commoners. Marie-Rose may have been the daughter of Pierre III Bridon, born in 1702, who fathered many children with his wife Marie-Madeleine Bory, and for whom a new private family chapel is recorded as having been blessed in 1764, under the invocation of Saints Peter and Mary Magdalen – an event possibly not unrelated to this binding. Presumably the same Marie-Rose Bridon was recorded as a new lay member of the Confraternity of Saint-Esprit du Machecoul in 1760.
Other bindings from the specialized workshop that produced this binding are known; some contain painted coats-of-arms instead of pictures in the central cartouches. Louis-Marie Michon attributed a group of similar mosaic bindings, mostly on octavo-format books including Almanachs royaux, executed between 1755 and 1772, to the workshop of the Derome dynasty, which included “no fewer than 16 master binders” (p. 37), of whom two distinguished themselves, Jacques-Antoine Derome and his son Nicolas-Denis, received as master binder in 1761. Michon reproduces a binding in the Arsenal library (plate VI, no. 56), which clearly bears stylistic similarities to this one. Another binding from the same workshop, on an octavo Almanach Royal from 1761, is illustrated in Gumuchian Catalogue XII (no. 252, plate CVI) and described as “a magnificent copy of the most sumptuous type of XVIIIth century binding, of the greatest rarity, specially in this remarkable state of freshness.”
I locate no copies of this edition. OCLC records a handful of copies of editions dated 1750, 1760, and 1771. The Penn copy of the 1750 edition includes two plates.
On the Bridon family, see Granges de Surgères, “Les artistes nantais du Moyen âge à la Révolution,” Nouvelles Archives de l’Art français, 3rd series, XIV (1898), pp. 80-82; “la Famille Bridon” at www.info.Bretagne.com (http://www.infobretagne.com/famille-bridon.htm); ”Une confrairie du XIIe siècle au pays de Retz,” Bulletin de la Société Archéologique de Nantes, 30 (1891), p. 192. On the binding, cf. Louis-Marie Michon, Les Reliures mosaïquées du XVIII Siècle (Paris, 1956), pp. 37-42, 110:nos. 56-58, & pl. VI; Gumuchian Catalogue XII (Belles Reliures), no. 252, color plate CVI. Item #2956