Quaternio Verlag Luzern

The art and craft of fine art facsimile making:
Diligence and care, step by step

From the shooting of the original to the printing of the book

The complex reproduction process begins with the shooting of each page of the illuminated manuscript with a special digital camera. To preserve the cultural artefact, the original always remains on site, where it is kept.

The thus gathered digital image data form the basis for the first trial proofs, which are then compared to the original manuscript, page after page. Resulting colour corrections are done before printing a renewed final proof, which is again compared to the original work.

The laborious reproduction of gold and silver

A particular challenge lies in the faithful reproduction of all parts of the manuscript that were not correctly identified by the camera. These are either gold – glowing gold leaf or tarnished shimmering brush gold – or silver in all shades of oxidation. During digital shooting, such metallic parts are assigned to a particular section of the colour spectrum: gold may thus appear as black, brown or yellow; silver may appear from white to a kind of green, or black. It is the task of the lithographer to identify such problematic parts through meticulous work on the computer screen, to correct them so as to render the original metal character. This is an extremely laborious process which requires a lot of experience with medieval painted manuscripts – an absolute must if we wish to reproduce the manuscript faithfully and to render all of its charm.

“Ready for press” – a clearance always given in the presence of the curator of the manuscript

The “imprimatur”, or ”ready for press”, is always issued in the presence of the curator of the manuscript. After that the edition may go to print, sheet after sheet. The final result is then again compared to the original, page after page, and minor differences may still be corrected. The acid-free aging-resistant paper is finally trimmed to the same size as the original parchment leaves.

Facsimile bookbinding means bookbinding by hand

The craft of facsimile bookbinding in its essential working stages has remained more or less the same since the Middle Ages. The printed sheets are folded, put together and compiled to form quires – mostly quires of four, or quaternions.

Quire after quire is then stitched onto bands or on raised bands to form the body of the book and given a hand-sewn head- and tailband, before the body is enclosed in the cover in the following step.

Medieval bindings have come in a wide range of materials throughout the centuries: leather (with gold and blind tooling), velvet or silk, ivory, precious metal, with or without clasps and decorative fittings – a true challenge for the bookbinder. Frequently Quaternio Verlag Luzern relies on other specialists, such as goldsmiths, textile experts, and restorers to create a faithful replica of the binding.

A book with seven seals?
The enclosed commentary unveils the secrets of the book

To be able to unlock the secrets of the manuscript, each facsimile volume is complete with a commentary volume, introducing you to the time when the manuscript was made, describing all miniatures it contains and presenting both the patron and the artist/s involved.

We as publishers set great value on legible and clear texts authored by researchers and specialists of renown. In addition, all commentary volumes come in a quality and décor that match the facsimile.

Bogen für Bogen gedruckt. Das Endergebnis wird dann nochmals Seite für Seite mit dem Original verglichen, kleinste Abweichungen können noch korrigiert werden.

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