A Magnificent French Design Art Binding by Robert Wu 2017




















George Babier's masterfully illustrated book "Fetes Galantes" was published in 1928 in Paris. It contains over twenty exquisite pochoir plates. The book is in large quarto format measuring 9" x 12" without the binding. I started this binding 3 years ago and have been working on it intermittently. It's my favorite and most lavish binding to date. This book is copy #974. The open covers measure 20" x 12".

The binding is bound in exquisite rare French cyclamen goatskin. The grey doublures are covered in French chagrin leather. The headbands are done in purple, fushia pink and lavender silk threads. The top edge is gilt in 22k double gold with gaufferings in purple and pink. The cover leather onlays utilize different techniques to create various textures, and gilding is done primarily in 22k gold and palladium for the plumage feather.  Standing squares of the boards are also gilt in 22k gold leaves. Inside doublure covers, two round eggshell panels are inlaid into the boards. I made the eggshell panels with special green eggshells and also added flakes of gold leaves (sunago). Flyleaves are lined with corkskins and my own hand marbled paper. Chemise and slipcases are also covered with my own marbled paper, lined with lavender suede, velvet and purple chagrin leather. Titlings on both the box and binding are all done in palladium leaves. Additional folding box is lined with vintage Japanese turquoise silk yuzen fabric and exterior covered in German linen. I hope I don't miss many other tiny details...

It's been a long journey since I started working on this binding of my own. I have huge admiration for George Barbier's illustrated books/drawings. So much thoughts, cost and labour and skills have gone into making this sumptuous binding. When I first saw the pochoirs in the book, a vision came to me. An image of the women with a fan in front of her face peeking through. It's a gift from above that I must fulfill and realize without changing a thing. Pictures are worth a thousand word. I hope to make a video for my own record soon.