Bookbinding and the Conservation of Books
A Dictionary of Descriptive Terminology

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Gentile, Antonio ( 1519-1609 )

A Roman goldsmith who produced perhaps the most remarkable silver binding that has come down from the Renaissance. The cover, which protects an equally distinguished Renaissance manuscript, the Book of Hours , written by the scribe Francesco Monterchi, and illuminated by Giulio Clovio, for Cardinal Alessandro Farnese, consists of wooden boards covered with parcel gilt silver that is very delicately worked in low relief and openwork. Each cover has a frame of foliage in relief against a pierced ground which is interrupted at intervals by masks, with fleurs-de-lis in the corners. The panel is divided into four sections filled with male and female figures whose bodies terminate in curving foliage. In the center a large oval depicts the annunciate angel on the upper cover and the Virgin Mary on the lower, both in relief. The spine of the binding is covered with a plate of silver decorated with foliate designs in low relief between four double raised bands. The doublures of silver are engraved with Farnese arms and the names of Cardinals Allesandro and Odoardo Farnese. (347 )

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