Facsimile publishing has, in recent years, given the historic, ultra-precious illuminated codices filling up the storerooms of libraries all over the world for hundreds of years a new lease of life. They are veritable gems, manuscripts written on parchment and decorated with ornamental images and elements of great beauty which have unfortunately disappeared from view.
Facsimiles are printed reproductions of volumes faithfully copying all their details, such as texts, in full, as well as their material properties, page size and weight, friezes and binding materials.
In fact, all the details of the original are reproduced in the copy.
Most facsimiles are made of manuscripts decorated with gilt laminations.
Facsimiles are photographic reproductions but many other printing techniques can also be used. Binding is artisan made and uses the same materials as the original.
From ancient to modern
Facsimiles carefully replicate all the details of the original exactly, and new digital technologies meld with historic printing methods in work of the utmost precision.
Making a facsimile necessitates a whole host of professionals, such as binders, silversmiths, historians and philologists, all making their own contribution.
- Images are transferred to parchment paper via stochastic screening.
- Gold leaf, paint, embossing and relief are applied to each sheet.
- Pages are then sewn together by hand.
- At this point the almost-complete volumes are bound in leather or velvet and decorated with the original friezes.
- Lastly facsimiles are placed inside fine satin or silk cases.
What characteristics does a facsimile need to have?
Facsimiles are exact copies of the original volume and what marks them out from fake copies is their certificate of guarantee.
Facsimiles requirements include:
- Commentaries: facsimiles are equipped with commentaries summarising all the historical studies on the subject and translation of the contents if necessary.
- Certificates: limited print runs and facsimile series numbers are certified by paper documents.
- Emotions: facsimiles are exact copies of all the original. And that’s not all. The goal is also to reproduce the same tactile and visual elements as the original. Not only that, the goal is also to propose the same tactile and visual suggestions made alive by contact with the ancient book.