Garamont the bookseller

In 1545, Jean Barbé, a Parisian bookseller, formed a partnership with Claude Garamont, who, at the urging of Jean de Gagny, the royal almoner and chancellor of the Sorbonne, had entered the publishing trade. His first publication, in March 1545, was David Chambellan's Pia et religiosa meditatio, which was printed by Pierre Gaultier, his brother-in-law.

"[Jean de Gagny] with the goodwill which he manifests to all the industrious, he advised, that I, who had been accustomed hitherto to cut and cast types for the publishers, should enjoy my own labours and enter the publishing trade." Claude Garamont, 1545.

In the preface to this edition, Garamont included the following note: "Italicarum itaque proxime ad Aldinas literarum typos sculpo, quam foeliciter alii iudicabunt, certe domini Danesii, Vatabli, aliorumque iudicio non ingratos : neque his contentus, animum adiunxi vt eiusdem proportionis ac formae minutulos typos (nostrae artis homines glossam vocant) effingerem" (f. 2 v°-3 r°). "So I created italic types after the model of the Aldine, with what success others will judge, though certainly they have satisfied the taste of Danes, of Vatable and of others. And not content with these I applied my mind to designing minute types of the same proportion and form (men of our trade call them ‘glossa’)".

In this partnership, occasionally joined by the booksellers Thielman II Kerver and Jean de Roigny, Jean Barbé was undoubtedly the main backer, although Claude Garamont appeared above all to have supplied the type, in particular the italic "glossa" for which he had just cut the punches. The printing was regularly assigned to Pierre Gaultier, who also worked as a type founder. Nine editions saw the light in 1545, including six in sextodecimo format, which was the ideal size for Garamont's small roman italic font (cf. the Novum Testamentum printed by Pierre Gaultier for Jean Barbé). The year also saw the publication of the first two books of Sebastiano Serlio's Architecture.

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