Gold stamping the Plantin devise in 1564: a ‘Golden Compass’ stamp slightly out of angle (R 21.14)


Last week the Illuminare RICH team imaged a selection of bookbindings in the Plantin-Moretus Museum collection, Antwerp. A number of the bindings on Plantin editions have the famous devise of Christopher Plantin on the cover with his personal motto Labore et constantia. The RICH module reveals hardly visible details about the technique the bookbinder/gilder used in early modern times.

An example: mostly the binders worked with compasses to position there cover lay-out, but the use of a ruler is not uncommon. On the Plantin edition of 1564 ( Responsio ad illos articulos Joannis Hoperi ) the RICH sketch module shows the blind drawn vertical line to position the central stamp on the back-cover. The top of the lozenge shaped stamp is slightly out of angle. The RICH shade and curvature tool detects clearly that the gilder pressed with his hand tool from right to left. The dens follicles pattern and the deep cracks detect the damage of the sheepskin surface.

The image above top left shows the stamp in normal color, the image top right visualizes the vertical blind line in the middle (Sketch Tool) and the two images below show the deeper impression on the right hand side of the stamp.

From 11 to 14 June the RICH team monitored more than 25 bindings in the Plantin-Moretus Museum.


Demo and trial imaging @ UCL


On the 13th of June 2013 a demo and trial session was organized at the Musée de Louvain-la-Neuve in regard to the imaging efforts of Mesopotamian heritage conducted by the IAP network (work package VI). IAP-partner UCLouvain keeps at their museum a small collection of a few dozen of cuneiform texts and some stamp & cylinder seals. This first visit with the Portable Light Dome (PLD) to the museum was organised to inspect the to image material and to demonstrate to the museum curator, photographer, employees and UCL researchers the potential the PLD technique. As such, we settled a complete week of recordings, scheduled for November 2013. In addition, not only cuneiform documents and seals will be scanned, but we plan to test the use of the PLD-technique on selected series of other epigraphic and archaeological objects safeguarded at the Musée de Louvain-la-Neuve.

We sincerely thank Emmanuelle Druart, Etienne Duyckaerts and Jan Tavernier for organizing this trial.

Imaging bookbindings @ Museum Plantin-Moretus


This week the Illuminare RICH team is imaging a part of the collection of medieval and early modern bookbindings of the Museum Plantin-Moretus in Antwerp. This morning we looked to the blindtooled binding of philosophical work from 1499 Christopher Plantin himself bought from John Clement, teacher of the children of Thomas Morus.

With RICH minidome we can reveal the impression of the Tudor rose panel stamp, create the “digital rubbing” and create a height map in order to measure and visualize in detail the impression the binders monogram FE Frederck Egmont. (imprint of 1,056 mm deep in the sheep leather – total height of the monogram: 8,217 mm – see image below right )

Museum Plantin Moretus, Antwerp, OB 4.5 (details upper cover)


Imaging @ Allard Pierson Museum – Amsterdam

Allard Pierson

Early March 2013 a three and a half day imaging session recorded the cuneiform documents kept at the Allard Pieson Museum in Amsterdam. In total 59 clay tablets, cones, ornaments and some seals were processed. We sincerely thank director Wim Hupperetz for the smooth collaboration.

In the sideline we also scanned an early Medieval book bound and some miniature illustrations from the Bijzondere Collecties. One of these scans of some 9th c. pages from the court of Charles the Bald hit the news media.

Imaging the Ghent University Cuneiform Collection


The University of Ghent (Belgium) keeps some 45 cuneiform tablets that originate from the Susa excavations (chantier A). On November 29 and 30 2012 this small collection was scanned with the Portable Light Dome equipment.

It will allow prof. Katrien De Graef and her team at Ghent to tackle the content of these documents and shed new light (pun intended) on the history of Susa, in particular into the Old Babylonian period to which most of the tablets in this collection date.