Grolier binding forgery by Louis Hagué.
A fine forgery of a Grolier binding by Louis Hagué, from my “fake bindings” collection. The famous Belgian binder Hagué (1822 or 1823–91) was probably the most skillful forger of his time. Active in Brussels between 1875 and his death, he produced bindings purporting to be sixteenth-century French. The present book is the second Froben edition of Lazare de Baïf’s illustrated trilogy of studies on ancient manufactures. In 1888, a catalogue of Bernard Quaritch described this sumptuous copy: “The wonderful freshness and perfect preservation of this beautiful binding have led to doubts being thrown upon its genuineness, some persons even going so far as to allege that it is a modern fabrication” (B. Quaritch, Catalogue 99
, 1888, no. 124). The work executed by Hagué on this copy was remarkably credible at the time by its coherence and its precision, in spite of the use of painting to realize the interlaced designs, and also of the motto “Tanquam ventus est vita mea,” which has nothing to do with Grolier himself.