DIBDIN, Rev. Thomas Frognall (1776-1847). Lettre trentième concernant l'imprimerie et la librairie de Paris. Translated and annotated by G.A. Crapelet. Paris: Crapelet, 1821.
8o (260 x 170 mm). (Paper foxed.) BOUND BY JOSEPH THOUVENIN L'AîNé FOR HIMSELF, Paris 1828: gold-tooled and blind-blocked purple straight-grained morocco, border of classical ornament, large central panel of leafy ornament, owner's initials JT and date 1828, repeated floral tool and lettering on flat spine, signed THOUVENIN on front cover and spine, roll-tooled turn-ins, marbled endpapers, gilt edges, (lower front corner slightly worn). Folding cloth box. Provenance: Joseph Thouvenin the elder (1790-1834), the leading French binder of his generation -- Claude Guérin.
The famous printer Crapelet translated the chapter on the Parisian printing and book trade in Dibdin's Biographical Tour (see previous lot), so that he could discuss in a preface and long footnotes the passages that had aroused his indignation, such as Lord Spencer's librarian's remarks on Panckoucke, Debure, Versailles palace, Renouard's cellar, putative gossip in Renouard's private-library catalogue, and on the new edition of Brunet's Manuel. He admits that Lewis and other English binders are better than their French rivals, but is greatly vexed by Dibdin's insistence on English superiority in all book production. He even finds Dibdin's exaggerated praise of his typography distorting and regrets that his father, Charles Crapelet, should not be mentioned as a printer of rare perfection.
Thouvenin was apprenticed to the Bozérian atelier at the age of eleven. He established his own shop in 1813 and started by imitating London work by Lewis and other binders. It is around the date of this binding on Crapelet's essay, which he executed for his private collection, that he began to develop his own style. BBB Harvard 67.