Bookbinding and the Conservation of Books
A Dictionary of Descriptive Terminology

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Gascon, Le

The name associated with a luxurious style of finishing introduced in France in the early 17th century. The "Le Gascon" style, known asPOINTILLÉ , is made up of interlaced bands, enclosing geometrical compartments which are filled with innumerable gold dots, frequently elaborated into lines and curves of remarkable luster and elegance.

Over the years many stories have arisen concerning "Le Gascon." One is that he worked as a bookbinder, or, more likely, as a gilder in the Eve's bindery, from which he took the style later to be called FANFARE STYLE (with its complicated geometrical framework) as the basis of his designs, but worked out all of the scrolls in fine dots instead of solid lines. While finishing tools had begun to become more finely cut with the Eves, they reached th pinnacle of delicacy and perfection with the work of this gilder or group of gilders. It has also been suggested that "Le Gascon" was the pseudonym of a famous binder, and it has been argued that the possibility exists that "Le Gascon" was employed by Gaston, Duke of Orleans.

Despite the speculation, there are no records to indicate just who "the man" may have been. There are documents indicating that someone going by the pseudonym "Le Gascon" was, as early as 1622, producing the most splendid bindings of that time. It is perhaps only natural that attempts should be made to link this name with the finest of the early pointillé bindings, but to date no binding can be said to he the work of anyone by that name. Three very intricate pointillé bindings, signed by FLORIMOND BADIER , do exist, but since Badier did not even begin his apprenticeship until 1630, he cannot have been "Le Gascon." (124 , 132 , 154 , 347 , 373 )

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