France's crafts in focus - September 2019

‘I find the British have a real understanding of the value of books and many of my clients come from the UK’ says Bookbinder Béatrice Fauste

Modern-day careers in the age-old art of bookbinding

France has a reputation for the quality of its bookbinders.

Students from all over the world – notably Italy, Spain, Eastern Europe and Japan – head here to learn this ancient craft.

It is estimated there are 240 workshops and 1,800 relieurs-doreurs in the country who bind books by hand and often add on detail in gold.

Most – an estimated 65% – work on their own, and have notable clients, including institutions such as the Bibliothèque Nationale de France, the Sénat, Assemblée Nationale and museums.

There are two types of work. The most commonly practised is reliure classique, which consists of restoration or binding important documents and books, either for individuals who have items they wish to preserve for future generations or for libraries, archives, ministers and town halls.

It is ...

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