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Daphnis and Chloe
Our Daphnis & Chloe design replicates a book binding containing a 1910 French edition of the story of the two eponymous characters. Written in the 2nd century AD in Greece, Daphnis & Chloe had lingered in obscurity for a long time before being published in a vernacular French translation by Jacques Amyot in 1559. After the story of two innocent lovers and the hurdles they overcame was introduced to European audiences, it entered the Western literary canon. Apart from being published and adapted for stage and film, the tale of Daphnis and Chloe has become a common source of influence in literature and art, including The Princess Bride.
The publication that became the basis of this Paperblanks design was bound by Émile-Philippe Mercier. This binding belongs to a classic tradition of adorning book covers with intricate patterns and patent symmetry as key elements. Unlike many bookbinders of the time, who were taking their cues from experimental artists and their novel forms of expression, Mercier stayed loyal to old principles. The central panel and outer frame of the design feature small details and delicate precision which are contrasted with the heavy, solid gilt tooling. In fact, for many years Mercier supplied all the gilt work for another esteemed bookbinder, Cuzon, gaining a mass of specialized experience. No wonder then that, once he started his own bookbinding business, it was his expert gilt tooling that earned him especially high praise.
With its muted gilding and rich inlay ornamentation, this design is steeped in a sense of majesty and splendour. The colours we have chosen are our homage to the courageous lovers and their romantic relationship. The details of this cover were done in orange as it is a warm colour that has strong associations with vigour, vitality and determination, the qualities that Daphnis had to demonstrate in order to reunite with his beloved. The green of the cover’s background represents hills and meadows, symbolizing the setting of this iconic pastoral romance.
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