Originally from Poitou, but settled in Paris as of the early 1500s, Antoine Augereau was originally a punch-cutter. For his three roman fonts (Gros Romain, Saint-Augustin and Cicero) he drew inspiration from Aldus Manutius's work in Venice in the late 15th century, thereby contributing to the introduction of a new typographic aesthetic to France. Of his three roman faces, the one he produced in 1532 was based on characters designed by Francesco Griffo. Later, Claude Garamont, would recut this face, refining it. As a printer, Augereau published more than forty handsome editions of works by the humanists and scholars of his time. In 1533, he published a work on the spelling of French, which was the first appearance of modern punctuation. Implicated in the Affair of the Placards – when anti-Catholic tracts were posted on the night of 17–18 October 1534 – and suspected by theologians, Augereau was arrested, hanged and burned at the stake at Place Maubert on 24 December of the same year.
Josse Bade was probably a native of Ghent who was educated by the Frères de la Vie Commune and at the University of Louvain. He settled in Lyon in 1492 and worked at Jean Treschel's printing workshop as a corrector and "literary director". In 1499, he led a scholar's life in Paris before opening his own printing firm, "In aedibus Ascensianis", where he worked as a printer and bookseller until his death in December 1535.
Jean Barbé was a Parisian bourgeois who was active for only two years, in 1545 and 1546. During the first year, he teamed up with Claude Garamont and also with Jacques Gazeau, whose name was also Barbé, and who was probably Jean's sister. He is sometimes listed as a bookseller and sometimes as a printer. In 1545, he printed the first two books of Sebastiano Serlio's Architecture. A final edition prepared by Barbé was published in 1547 for the benefit of his widow and heirs.
Guillaume Budé was the son of Jean Budé, secrétaire du roi et audiencier en la grande Chancellerie de France. Guillaume was a renowned Hellenist and one of the great humanists of the early 16th century. He was Provost of Merchants in Paris in 1522, and the same year was appointed master of the royal library; in this position, he sought out manuscripts, particularly Greek manuscripts, which he had sent to him from Italy and the Ottoman Empire. In 1513 he published De Asse et partibus, a treatise on Roman coinage, and he lobbied for the creation of a Collège des Lecteurs Royaux, and in 1529 succeeded in getting his student Jacques Toussaint appointed royal lecturer for Greek.
Claude Chevallon began his career as a simple bookseller at the sign of Saint Christopher in the Rue Saint-Jean-de-Latran. He became a printer when he married Charlotte Guillard, the widow of the bookseller Berthold Rembolt. Starting in the mid-1520s, the couple became wealthy by publishing imposing tomes of the writings of the Early Church Fathers, competing with the remarkable editions produced by the Froben workshop in Basel. After the death of Claude Chevallon in 1537, Charlotte Guillard ran the business herself for nearly twenty years until her own death in 1557. She had no children with either husband, but she handed down her experience, her workshop and her fortune to her nieces and nephews, who included the booksellers Jacques Bogard, Sébastien Nivelle, Guillaume Desboys and Guillaume Guillard. In Guillaume Le Bé's Memorandum, we read that at the end of the 1530s, Claude Garamont worked in the Soleil d’Or workshop, first under Claude Chevallon and then under his widow, Charlotte.
Simon de Colines was a highly experienced printer of scientific books who took great care with his publications. He began his career as a punch-cutter in the printing workshop of Henri I Estienne, and in 1520 married Estienne's widow Guyonne Viart, who was also the widow of the printer Jean Higman. In 1526, de Colines transferred Henri Estienne's house to his son-in-law Robert Estienne, while retaining the stock and most of the equipment, which he used to set up shop in the same street, the Rue Saint-Jacques. In 1527, he replaced the rabbits (conils) that he had used as a printer's mark with the personification of Time. In 1539, he transferred his bookshop to Regnault Chaudière, one of his wife's sons-in-law and moved his printing workshop to the Rue Saint-Marcel. He died childless in 1546.
Pierre Duchâtel was born in Arc-en-Barrois. He did his studies in Dijon and travelled in Germany. He began his career under the protection of Erasmus and worked at Johann Froben's workshop in Basel. In 1537, he became personal reader to the king, who put him in charge of the Collège des Lecteurs Royaux, for which he became an effective advocate. Duchâtel was an adviser and almoner to the king and confidant of Marguerite de Navarre, and served as bishop of Tulle in 1539, of Mâcon in 1544 and of Orléans in 1551. He was a brilliant Hellenist scholar and an enlightened and tolerant man. After the death of Guillaume Budé in August 1540, the king appointed Duchâtel guardian of the royal library. In this position, he actively sought out Greek manuscripts and on 2 November 1540, he commissioned Greek fonts from Claude Garamont, paying the sum of 22 sols tournois for each out of the royal treasury.
As the son, son-in-law, brother and brother-in-law of printers, Robert Estienne was well-placed in his profession. In 1539, he was appointed printer to François I for Hebrew and Latin, and royal printer for Greek the following year (his master was Jean Lascaris, known as Rhyndacenus). It was for publishing his Greek collections that he entrusted Claude Garamont with cutting the punches for the grecs du roi. His workshop, which he shared with his father-in-law Simon de Colines until 1526, reached its apex in the 1530s, with the production of learned editions of the Bible and of Latin authors, as well as dictionaries and works on the Latin and French languages. Appointed royal printer by François I, who provided him with protection, he commissioned Claude Garamont to cut the punches for the magnificent characters known as the grecs du roi. These were created by order of the king and following drawings made by Angelo Vergezio. Working with humanists throughout Europe, Robert Estienne embraced the Protestant Reform and finished his career in Geneva. He disinherited those of his sons who chose to remain Catholic and left his workshop to his son Henri.Genealogy
Priest, theologian, Hellenist, Hebrew scholar, canon of the Sainte-Chapelle, royal almoner to François I and author of a number of Biblical commentarie, Jean de Gagny founded his own print workshop, commissioned his own typefaces and imported the books published by Aldus Manutius's successors. A philologist and humanist, de Gagny was appointed Chancellor of the University of Paris in 1546.
Pierre Gaultier was a type founder and printer in Paris between 1537 and 1562. On his marriage certificate from 1537 he is listed as a type founder, and he only appears as a printer in 1541. He was regularly chosen to print works on which Claude Garamont worked: nine editions were published in 1545, including six in 16mo.
France's very first printer was active from 1470 to 1508. He arrived in Paris in 1469, and with Michel Friburger and Martin Crantz, he founded the first printing workshop in France, In Parisiorum Sorbona, and remained until 1508. He died in 1510, leaving Berthold Rembolt to run the Soleil d’Or alone. Gering and his initial collaborators were granted French citizenship in February 1475.
Robert Granjon was born into a family of printers and typographers. He became a licensed bookseller-printer in Paris in 1523. Beginning in 1543, he began to cut punches for his own roman and italic fonts, based on Estienne's typefaces. He settled in Lyon in the 1550s, where he married the daughter of the celebrated punch-cutter Bernard Salomon and worked with Jean I de Tournes. He designed an extraordinary typeface that appears to have been the result of a compromise between cursive blackletter and italic. He called it "lettre française", but it became known under the name of Civilité. Between 1563 (or 1565) and 1570, he cut the punches for a number of typefaces for Christophe Plantin, particularly small-font adaptations of Garamont's characters. He lived primarily in Antwerp, but also spent time in Frankfurt and Geneva. He then travelled to the Vatican in 1578, where he remained until his death two years later. He was in charge of casting the type for the Vatican's printing workshop and for that of the Medici Oriental Press, which specialised in publishing books in oriental languages. For the Medici press, Granjon cut a large number of punches for Arabic, Armenian, Hebrew and Syrian alphabets. His type creations, similar to those of Garamont but even more accomplished with respect to their italics, built on and perfected Estienne's model. They enjoyed widespread distribution, buoyed by the Counter-Reformation, which sought to use the printed word to reaffirm the Catholic Church's intellectual and cultural hegemony in Europe, and to bolster its evangelical efforts in the East.
Johannes Gensfleisch zur Laden zum Gutenberg was a goldsmith and engineer born into an upper-class family in Mainz. He worked in Strasbourg between 1439 and 1444, and then in Mainz starting in 1448. His printing workshop, financed by a wealthy moneylender, Johann Fust, opened its doors around 1450, apparently with the goal of printing a Bible. Following the production of a 36-line Bible that had been reworked several times, Gutenberg preferred smaller type, which required less paper.
Jean Jannon once worked in Robert III Estienne's workshop in Paris. He was a talented punch-cutter, type founder and became a master printer in 1606. In 1610 he settled in the Protestant stronghold of Sedan, where he worked for the prince Henri de La Tour d'Auvergne and for the Academy of Sedan. He wrote a preface to the type specimen of his typeface, intended for printers. In it, he sang the praises of Robert Estienne and André Wechel – but failed to mention Garamont. The quality and elegance of his typefaces were widely recognised; he cut the punches for a very small typeface that was a tour de force for his time. It achieved fame under the name "Petite Sedanoise" or "Sedanaise." How did the Imprimerie Royale come into possession of his typefaces? For a long time, the story went that they were seized, on the orders of Richelieu, as they were being transported along a road in Normandy, on their way to a Protestant printer in Caen. As it turns out, the reality is a bit less romantic – Jannon was apparently offered a tidy sum for them.
Guillaume I Le Bé apprenticed with Robert Estienne in 1539-1540, where he learned to cut punches and cast lead type. He left Paris for Venice and Rome between 1545 and 1550. Upon his return to Paris, he set up as a type founder in 1552, working, among others, for Claude Garamont. He purchased Garamont's punches and matrices after Garamont's death in 1561. An inventory of his foundry was drawn up in 1598 – the great names in 16th-century type design were there, including Augereau, Granjon, Garamont and Haultin. This list of names was accompanied by a Album that featured type specimens and Le Bé's handwritten annotation. He also published a Mémorandum about the history of typography, based on sources supplied and transcribed by his son Guillaume II around 1643. Le Bé I carried on the work of both Estienne and Garamont. In particular, he supplied Plantin's major printing firm in Antwerp. He himself designed several high-quality roman fonts, but he is primarily known for his oriental typefaces, including a range of Hebrew characters that were used up until the 18th century.
On 27 August, Claude Garamont took as an apprentice Pierre Legat, fourteen years old, sone of Jean Legat, Paris merchant and bourgeois. On 13 May 1551, he took on Anselme Le Bigot, fourteen years old, son of Jacques Le Bigot, merchant innkeeper. On 22 September 1557, he accepted Jean de Preault, seventeen years old, orphan, and on 21 September 1558, he took Paterne Robelot, sixteen years old, son of Loup Robelot, wine-grower. All were taught the profession of casting type. In Garamont's will, he mentioned Paterne Robelot, and left his doublet and hose to Robert Coiffyer, a founder who had been his apprentice.
Aldus Manutius settled in Venice in 1490 and published his first works early in 1495. He printed the "Statutes of the New Academy" in 1502, with the idea of bringing together his work as a printer with teaching classical languages in a renowned institution. His reputation expanded as European universities embraced ancient Greek culture.
Conrad Néobar was originally from Kempis-Vost, a diocese of Cologne, and became a French citizen along with his brother Gilles on 17 January 1539. On the same day, he was appointed royal bookseller-printer for Greek, with a salary of one hundred gold ecus. In late 1540, he died from overwork, longo capitis comitante dolore. As a "learned man and teacher of literature", he was specifically tasked with the printing of Greek, ensuring that "Greek manuscripts, the source of all instruction" were printed "correctly". He was granted exclusive rights for five years for Greek and Latin books, and two years for re-publications.
Christophe Plantin apprenticed in Caen, where he learned the basics of printing and bookbinding. For a time he worked as a bookseller in Paris, but because of his Anabaptist beliefs he was forced into exile in Antwerp in 1549. In 1555, he founded a printing and publishing business at the sign of the Golden Compass (Gulden Passer). The business received support from the wealthy citizens of Antwerp and Plantin's talent for both publishing and trade helped it grow. Plantin published classical authors as well as theological, legal and scientific works. His handsome editions used top-quality fonts of many types, from roman to blackletter, and including both Greek and Hebrew. He commissioned excellent engravers to illustrate his books, such as Pierre Van der Borcht, the Huys and the Wiericx brothers. He managed to be friends with all sides – Humanists, Catholics and Protestants – and enjoyed the protection of Cardinal Granvelle and Gabriel de Cayas, secretary to Philip II of Spain. In 1567, he undertook the production of the Biblia regia and was awarded the title of "royal architypographe". He was given exclusive rights to the printing of ecclesiastical works for the kingdom of Spain and its empire. His printing firm became a hub for the Counter-Reformation, and liturgical publications in every format flowed from his presses by the thousands. The economic power of Plantin's press and the wide distribution of his books afforded him considerable influence. He popularised the Garalde family of typefaces, which were subsequently copied in both England and the Netherlands.
A forerunner in terms of French grammar and usage, Geoffroy Tory befitted from the support of François I, and was appointed the first "printer to the king". He was a humanist publisher, translator, bookseller and printer, but he was also a talented artist, creating characters for the correct transcription of French. Tory explored every area of book production, including graphic design, typography, bookbinding, spelling and punctuation. This was particularly evident in his most famous work, Champfleury, the first philosophical treatise on typography, in which he designed ancient letterforms in proportion to the human body.
Angelo Vergezio was an Italian calligrapher originally from Crete. He became "writer of Greek to the King", thereby carrying on the tradition of Greek copyists who fled Crete and emigrated to Venice, pushed out by Venetian domination and overpopulation. In 1539, he was granted a pension by François I to serve as "expert calligrapher of Greek letters". Because of this, in 1545, his name is included in the list of paid royal lecturers. His Greek heritage caused him to be sought out by many upper-class families. Vergezio also made copies for individuals, but he primarily worked for the Royal Library. Before making a copy, he compared different manuscript versions and corrected the text. When stocks of fonts needed to be created or renewed, or when a commissioned work had to be something unique, it was not unusual to choose a calligrapher for the job. This was the case under François I, who was a great bibliophile. The beauty of Vergezio's work was so well-known that (supposedly) the expression "to write like an angel" entered the language during his lifetime.
A noteworthy figure in Paris's publishing milieu, Wechel was a printer-bookseller in Paris between 1554 and 1562, and later in Frakfurt, where he died on 1 November 1581. In 1553, his uncle, Chrétien Wechel, passed on to him the premises of the Winged Horse, or Pegasus, in the Rue Saint-Jean-de-Latran, next to the Estiennes. In 1560, he purchased Henri Estienne's printing equipment. He was Claude Garamont's executor, and he kept company with doctors, lawyers and academics from the Collège Royal. His house was a well-known stopping-place for travellers from Germany, Holland and England – most of them Protestants. After 1561, unable to conceal his religious beliefs in spite of his customary reserve, he and his wife were forced to flee Paris in June 1562.