Solstice Star

Solstice Star

This beautiful jewel-toned purple and gold design is a shining star of bookbinding history.

Originally crafted from red morocco leather with intricate filigree and golden pointellé, the binding has been in the collection of the Bibliothèque Nationale de France (BnF) since the Second Empire (1865–1870). It was designed by an unknown Parisian atelier to hold the Pars Hiemalis (or, winter) section of the Parisian Brevarium, a book that dictated the liturgical rites of the Catholic Church throughout the church year.

The binding’s contents were printed in 1645 by S. and G. Cramoisy, one of the first secular workshops given authority to print liturgical works for the Catholic Church. However, this manuscript and binding was likely produced for a book collector rather than having been used in service. With such brilliant filigree work, it is easy to see why a noted bibliophile of the era would commission the piece, and why the BnF would so proudly hold it in their collection for the last two centuries.