top of page

Bookbinding, art and history

Let's get to know each other better through one of my activities, bookbinding.

Why bookbinding? First of all, because I am passionate about history and old books. This interest came to me from frequenting my great-uncle's library, part of which I inherited more than 25 years ago. He himself inherited it from his grandfather owner of spinning mills in Abeville and from his father, attorney at law.

Camille Pissarro Bazincourt, effet de neige. Coucher du soleil, 1892, Huile sur toile, 32 x 41 cm, Hasso Platner Collection / Sammlung Hasso Plattner

This library was full of old books, most of them in good condition, but some of which needed urgent restoration.

It is therefore by restoring certain works in an aspect and with materials as close as possible to their original condition that I started bookbinding.

© Fabrice Roy
© Fabrice Roy

The other reason for this practice is that it gives me the satisfaction of making something with my hands, when I don't have much affinity for DIY and my professional life consists essentially of selling time and neuron juice.

La presse et les livres. © Fabrice Roy
La presse et les livres. © Fabrice Roy

Bookbinding teaches me patience, it offers me an inexhaustible source of creativity, a taste for things well done and naturally an artistic approach through the use of multiple techniques such as gilding or leather work.

To hold a book in one's hands, to resuscitate it in a way, is to appropriate a piece of history. I imagine my predecessors who have read its pages, sometimes annotating them, leaving an indelible testimony to their existence.

Vincent Van Gogh. Bateaux de pêche aux Saintes Maries. 1888

Among the works of which I am most proud, an edition of La Fontaine's Fables dating from 1726. The paper is of exceptional quality. A few pages have been restored and the whole is bound in half-leather with gilding on the spine.

All formats are suitable for binding. Thus, the songs of the soldier of Paul Déroulède published in 1877 of which one can see the original edition and another version, restored.

We can also bind more modest works, such as this Histoire de la Musique by Norbert Dufourcq in 1942, and for which I have inserted the original cover on the front side.

My penultimate, is a biography of Beaumarchais from 1897 by André Hallays and the most recent, a nod to Pierre Benoit and his novel "Fabrice" published in 1956.

Frédéric Bonnieu © Fabrice Roy

I would like to thank the entire team of Frédéric Bonnieu, Master Bookbinder in Nice, with whom I have been learning for almost two years and who feeds this recent passion every week with talent and kindness.

3, rue Maréchal Vauban

06300 Nice

Tél: 04 93 62 67 01

In his art history lectures, Fabrice Roy combines the past with the present, in a poetic and playful evocation of the French 19th century...


bottom of page