When we publish a fine art facsimile edition, we require the highest standards in order to satisfy not only our expectations, but those of scientists, bibliophile collectors, and, not least, the library where the original is kept. To achieve this ambitious goal, we begin by choosing to work with the best specialists.
Using the Latest Technologies
Equipment on the special digital photography market is constantly being improved and refined. Using a technique developed specifically for photographing fragile, centuries-old manuscripts, all of the manuscript pages are photographed in the rooms of Corpus Christi College. It is important to have the clearest possible photograph, while at the same time taking into consideration the optimal angle for opening the manuscript. At all stages of the process, protecting the original is the first priority.
Irreplaceable: The Lithographer’s Eye and Experience
Using the digital data, the first proofs of the Corpus Apocalypse are prepared for the printing press. Carefully, the lithographer compares the proofs page by page with the original on site. No machine can replace his trained eye and long years of experience, when it comes to spotting the smallest of colour deviations or testing the exactitude of the overall impression. Special attention is paid to the almost supernaturally luminous, minium red that is characteristic of the entire manuscript, as well as to the reproduction of the almost watercolour-like bluish grey tones of some of the robes.
Glittering Silver and Gold Chasing
There is a special challenge for the lithographer when it comes to preparing metallic colours such as gold and silver. In the Corpus Apocalypse the silver has retained much of its glow, despite the passage of many centuries. A few test sections of silver and gold must be rendered, before the actual production phase with gold and silver begins.
In another step, the traces of age captured in the photographs of the manuscript must be reproduced. The process of creating this patina requires often several colours and printing stages. The lithographer and printer must work meticulously to adjust the patina in order to achieve vivid gold surfaces. Special stamping dies are made to reproduce the chasing and punching on the golden surfaces. The stamping work is very delicate, since the fine lines must not be pressed through to the reverse of the page.
Bookbinding by Hand for Centuries
Just like bookbinders centuries ago, today’s facsimile bookbinder works mostly with his hands. He folds the printed sheets into a book block. The book’s headband is stitched by hand. One special feature of this manuscript is that the headband must be stitched to the spine. Carefully, the bookbinder selects the leather for the binding and softens it so that it can be more easily manipulated. Finally, the book block and the cover are bound together to create a true-to-the-original fine art facsimile edition.
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