Wednesday, June 23, 2021

The Jayne Wrightsman Bookbindings Collection

From The Wall Street Journal:

 In pre-Revolutionary France, collectors used books to flaunt their wealth and taste more than their erudition. Some examples can be found in “Bound for Versailles: The Jayne Wrightsman Bookbindings Collection,” an exhibition opening June 25 at the Morgan Library & Museum in New York. The show includes two books of a four-volume set of fables from 18th-century France that measure almost 2 feet high. “This is not a volume you sit down and read. This is one that you display,” said John T. McQuillen, the show’s organizer and an associate curator of printed books and bindings at the Morgan.

The show includes more than 100 books, prints and other items from ancien régime France, including letters by Marie Antoinette and her husband, King Louis XVI. There are prayerbooks, such as a French translation of the book of Psalms published in 1725, as well as a 1718 edition of the ancient Greek novel “Daphnis and Chloe.” Costly and elaborate bindings, fashioned by leading craftsmen such as Nicolas-Denis Derome and Pierre-Paul Dubuisson, transformed these texts into works of art. The Morgan show features books acquired by Jayne Wrightsman, who with her husband, oil baron Charles Wrightsman, amassed a trove of 18th-century French fine and decorative arts, including paintings, sculpture, furniture and vases as well as books. (Read more.)


From Apollo:

Jayne Wrightsman, the late collector and champion of European decorative arts, bequeathed her entire collection of ancien régime manuscripts and bookbindings to the Morgan Library and Museum in New York. Among the 149 printed books which passed into the Morgan’s collection in 2019 are works once owned by Madame Adélaïde (daughter of King Louis XV) and Queen Marie-Antoinette, and others boasting illustrations by the likes of François Boucher and Jean-Baptiste Oudry. This display at the Morgan (25 June–26 September) considers the significance of bookbinding as an art form in the 18th-century French court, and celebrates Wrightsman’s exacting eye as a collector. Find out more from the Morgan’s website. (Read more.)


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