A superb specimen of “en Vernis Martin binding”.
This varnish, invented in 1730 by the Martins brothers to imitate the eastern lacquer decorating the furniture and art objects, was used until the 19th century: the secret of the Martin brothers was to paste together paper leaves, harden them in the oven, then paint them in various colors, varnish them with copal-resin and glaze them with some gum Arabic.
Binding of the Vernis Martin or Vernis-sans-odeur type is named for a varnish invented in 1730 by the Martin brothers of Paris. The varnish was used on objects such as carriages, furniture and boxes.
During Louis XV's reign (1715-1774), the Martin brothers developed a lacquer similar to that found on Chinese furniture. Use on bindings became popular in Paris, c1790-c. 1820.
This type of binding remains uncommon and we have traced only two manufactures in the 19th century.
This binding covers a book printed with Louis-Etienne Herhan’s new method of stereotyping.
“This mode of printing is now known by the term ‘Stereotype’; and it is a curious fact that the stereotype process, said to have been invented by M. Herhan in Paris, and now practiced by him in that city, under letters of Napoleon, is precisely the same as that spoken of by Dr. Colden more than sixty years ago.
It is more than probable that when Dr. Franklin went to France, he communicated Dr. Colden’s ‘new method of printing’ to some artists there, and that it lay dormant till about sixteen years since; when Herhan, a German, who had been an assistant to M. Didot, the printer and type founder of Paris, but then separated from him, took it up in opposition to M. Didot. We have conversed with gentlemen who have seen M. Herhan’s method of stereotyping, and they describe it to be exactly what Governor Colden invented. This fact established, there can be no doubt that M. Herhan, is indebted to America for the celebrity ha has obtained in France.” (The American Journal of Science, v. 24, pp. 319-325).
These specimens of bindings are very fragile, which makes them very rare and sought-after.
A precious binding lacquered in varnish “Martin”, covering a rare book printed with the stereotype process, in very good condition.