Wednesday, March 15, 2006

Pierre Ouvrard Master Bookbinder

"To speak about the bookbinder Pierre Ouvrard is to examine the vision of a passionate monk, a man who could have been born during the period described by Umberto Eco in his novel The Names of the Rose. While roses attract us with the charm of their fleeting beauty, a fine binding captures for the ages a vision of immortality."

Steel and Steam R. F. M. McInnis 1985
Maroon leather-covered rosewood case, the leather replicating first-class railway seat covers. Copper plate in relief on cover. Case drawer handle in the shape of a railway spike.

Écritures-ratures Francine Simonin 1986
Full black morocco leather binding. Front cover of textured white leather with decorative leather onlay. Issued in black cloth-covered drop-back box.

Hôtel Francine Lavoie 1988
Three-dimensional imitation stone case resembling the façade of an hotel. Hinged wooden doors open to reveal the contents.

L'art au Québec depuis 1940 Robert Guy 1973
Free standing case adorned with aluminum sculpture by Yves Trudeau mounted on a pine base

Maitre Relieur (Master Bookbinder) Pierre Ouvrard is considered to be the finest exponent of bookcraft that Canada has produced. He had created several thousand standard-type bindings for libraries up until the early 1970s and thereafter concentrated on livres d'artistes.

Ouvrard would read the books he was to bind for inspiration. He retired sometime in the 1990s and although I couldn't find much in the way of additional biographical material online I presume he was born in the mid-1920s, having been an apprentice during the 1940s.


dinesh said...

Last wek or so, I came across an Antiquarian bookstore near QVB where they had a book on display that had an elaborate biding as seen in the above examples. WEll maybe not so elaborate, but the frontpiece was entirely made of wwod and had plants embossed in it. And onother book had a couple of swords.It was the first time I've seen such embellishments, and I can only imagine the pleasure it must be to own such a book. Thanks for this post, Sr. P de K

peacay said...

Sr !!??

Abbey's bookshop? But I guess they're not so antiquarian. I've only got a couple of really old books and neither has anything that could be described as elaborate bindings.

My sister has a Shakespeare volume mid-18th century with gorgeous gold embossing on red leather. I've been sucking up for years to be included in her will!

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