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.