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Subject: Gessoed parchment

Gessoed parchment

From: Alan Derbyshire <aland>
Date: Tuesday, August 26, 2003
Peter Geraty <pgeraty [at] praxisbindery__com> writes

>We are about to produce a facsimile of a sketch book to be used in
>an exhibition on Rembrandt.  These books, called tafelet, were
>usually made with vellum pages prepared with gesso.  The books were
>pocket-sized, bound into leather and had clasps or fore edge flaps
>fastened with a metal stylus which was used for scribing the
>prepared surface of the vellum.

What you describe sounds similar to what we call (in single sheet
form) "table book leaf". These are pieces of vellum coated on both
sides with gesso and were used in the seventeenth century as
supports for the very fine vellum used for portrait miniature
painting. Table book leaf, as a support for miniature painting, was
first introduced by the amateur Balthazar Gerbier in 1616. Gerbier
was from the Netherlands and this perhaps indicates the continental
source of manufacture of table book leaf. Occasionally miniatures
from this period show unrelated inscriptions, in metal point, on the
verso indicating their previous usage. I have small samples of
pieces from single sheets but, I am afraid, do not have any bound as
a book.

Alan Derbyshire
Senior Conservator
Portrait miniatures and Paper
V&A Museum
London SW7 2RL
England


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                  Conservation DistList Instance 17:24
                 Distributed: Tuesday, August 26, 2003
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Received on Tuesday, 26 August, 2003

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