Épître sur les progrès de l’imprimerie. Par Didot, fils aîné.

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DIDOT (Pierre). Épître sur les progrès de l’imprimerie. Par Didot, fils aîné.

Paris, Imprimerie de Didot l’aîné, avec les italiques de Firmin, son second fils, 1784.

8vo, [4], [1] 2-20 pp., contemporary blue stiff paper wrappers and protected in glassine, printed on laid paper. A fine copy.

Description: Didot 1784 Epitre.pdf

The very rare first edition of this manifesto of neo-classical typography and book production.

The 23-year-old Pierre Didot (1761-1853) expresses in a poetical Epistle, dedicated to his father, the new aesthetics in typography. The text was to be reprinted two years later in Essai de Fables Nouvelles.

A significant document for the development of bookmaking in the 18th century

The poem is dedicated to the author’s father, Francois Ambroise Didot (1730-1804), and summaries his various successes as a printer and maker of books, placing him among the titians of typography—Garamont, Baskerville and Elzévir. Also discussed in valuable detail is the invention of wove paper (papier vélin), which the père Didot developed in France based on his appreciation of Baskerville’s Virgil. Also discussed is the invention of the single pull press, which Étienne-Alexandre-Jacques Anisson-Duperron (1749-1794) had also claimed credit for, but Pierre Didot makes a strong case for his father’s precedence.

Below: the note on the development of papier vélin.