Saturday April 8, 2017 Walk at 10 AM
The group will meet outside the west front of Notre-Dame, where the outlines of the former medieval street of the rue Neuve-Notre-Dame are marked on the paving. Right here was the absolute dawn of the book trade in Europe. Here the earliest professional booksellers had their shops from around 1200, together with parchment-sellers, illuminators, scribes and book-binders. The locations of their shops can often be located precisely from the medieval tax records. We will conjure up the businesses in this little street of Emery d’Orléans, libraire (d.1246); Nicholas Lombard, libraire 1248-76; and others. We will stand where the husband and wife team of Richard and Jeanne de Montbaston illuminated romances in the fourteenth century. We see the precise spots where the celebrated Jacques de Besançon illuminated manuscripts in 1472-94 and where Simon Vostre sold luxurious printed books in 1486-1518. We will cross the Petit Pont and walk up the rue St-Jacques, towards the site of the great Dominican convent and publishers of the works of Thomas Aquinas in the thirteenth century.
We will pass the locations of the shops of the booksellers Alain Spinefort, 1491-1506, Claude Jaumar 1493-1500, and others, turning right up the rue de la Parcheminerie, where many medieval scribes and illuminators had houses, including Ameline de Maffliers, a female illuminator in 1292-98, and from there into the little rue Erembourg de Brie (later rue des Enlumineurs). Many famous illuminators worked precisely here, including Honoré 1289-1312, Jean Pucelle (d.1334) and Jean le Noir (d. c.1380), illuminator of the Hours of Jeanne de Navarre and the Petites Heures of the duc de Berry. Finally, we will retrace our steps, back across the Ile de la Cité, over the Pont Notre-Dame, where the illuminator Maître François had his business on the left-hand side of the bridge in 1455-74, as later did the bookseller and printer Antoine Vérard (d.1513). We eventually reach Les Enluminures in the rue Jean-Jacques Rousseau, the libraire principal of manuscripts in modern Paris, for a light lunch and an opportunity to see and buy original manuscripts illuminated and sold in the city in the Middle Ages.
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