Papers session 1
- Denis Pallier (independent scholar, Paris)
- La succursale de Plantin à Paris
Une originalité du fondateur de l’Officina Plantiniana est d’avoir maintenu un axe Anvers-Paris, appuyé sur un réseau personnel et commercial. La recherche que nous résumons apporte un complément au volume 1 de The Golden Compasses (Christophe Plantin and the Moretuses...). Elle précise la relation de l’imprimeur anversois avec la France, en retraçant l’histoire de la succursale et l’évolution d’un des réseaux géographiques de Plantin. La méthode suivie a été inspirée par quelques chapitres du volume 2 de The Golden Compasses (The Management of a printing and publishing house...). Les ‘Livres de Paris’ ont disparu. Mais, en mobilisant toutes les sources disponibles, il est possible de reconstituer l’organisation et les fonctions de l’antenne. On peut identifier l’offre plantinienne et le réseau de diffusion, les achats en France et les services annexes (transferts d’argent, messagerie). The Golden Compasses a présenté la vie d’une maison d’édition. Les archives du Musée Plantin-Moretus permettent aussi de mieux connaître l’économie d’une succursale au seizième siècle.
- Antonio Davila Perez (Universidad de Cádiz)
- The Biblia Regia beyond the Plantin Press: Inquisition and censorship; slander and fame
In the first volume of The Plantin Press (Amsterdam 1980–1983) L. Voet dedicates thirty-six pages to an exhaustive bibliographical description of the Biblia Regia that still remains a mandatory reference for the study of the typographical characteristics and contents of that Bible. This presentation will focus on the controversial reception of the Polyglot Bible of Antwerp immediately after leaving Plantin’s printing office. The director of this great typographic project, Benito Arias Montano, had to face two main enemies: in Spain it was the theologian from Salamanca León de Castro who pursued Montano and his Bible to raise a complaint before the court of the Spanish Holy Inquisition in 1576. In Flanders, Arias Montano was attacked by one of the most brilliant European theologians, the Bishop of Roermond Wilhelm van der Lindt, alias Lindanus (1525–1588). The controversy between Arias Montano and Lindanus reached such a degree of obstinacy that it extended until the death of the protagonists; the reason for this mutual hostility must be sought in a false accusation by Arias Montano and a series of retractions not entirely satisfactory. The aim of this presentation is to flesh out our knowledge of some aspects on the reception of the Biblia Regia, mainly in light of unpublished or recently published documents.
Papers session 2
- Renaud Milazzo (Università degli Studi di Milano)
- European Book Economy and Market in the 16th Century: new perspectives
If the manuscript M 296 kept at the Plantin-Moretus Museum in Antwerp was used as a basis for Léon Voet's essential bibliography of books published and printed by Christophe Plantin between 1555 and 1589, this incredible document is rarely exploited in the second volume of the Golden compasses. Indeed, the manuscript M 296 is a commercial tool used by the Officina Plantiniana that shows that Plantin and his heirs had a perfect knowledge of the book market and the pricing practices of the printers and publishers located in the main production centres in the southern Netherlands, France, Holy Roman Empire, Italy and England. More than 20,000 books are sorted into alphabetical order and by language area, city and printer. In most cases, the format, the number of sheets used to print a title and the bookstore price expressed in different local monies of account, are mentioned. The purpose of this presentation is to demonstrate that from the point of view of the History of the Book, this document offers new and unexplored perspectives that complement and expand Léon Voet's findings on the European book economy and market in the 16th century.
- Heleen Wyffels (KULeuven)
- The power of possibility: Jeanne Rivière and the keys to the Plantin empire
Jeanne Rivière is arguably the most unobtrusive actor in the history of the first generations of the Officina Plantiniana. Léon Voet gave the wife and widow of Christophe Plantin the title of ‘loyal helpmate’ to her husband and his description of her gives the impression of an uneducated, meek woman, devoted to her husband and her household duties. Furthermore, her painted portrait adds a rather uninviting and morose look to this picture. In this paper, I will look at Rivière from another perspective: as Plantin’s universal heir, she proved to be the key to the continuation of the famous printing house. The archives of the Officina Plantiniana offer unique insight into the personal dynamics within this family business and the role of family members of either sex. Rivières case will show how widows, even those we tend to cast aside as dull housewives, were often key figures in the early modern printing industry.
Papers session 3
- Kristof Selleslach (Museum Plantin-Moretus)
- The instructions of Balthasar Moretus II to his future widow and heirs
A major weakness in the continuation of any family business is the succession of the next generation. Balthasar Moretus II (1615-1674) was well aware of this issue. During his lifetime he wrote down at least 3 instructions to his future widow and heirs. As The Golden Compasses reveals, Léon Voet was unacquainted with the instructions and its remarkable content. In the instructions Balthasar Moretus II discussed in detail how to run a printing business and in particular the Plantin Press. He paid much attention to the transfer of the family business to his future widow and heirs. He included a detailed road map for the taking-over. For example Balthasar Moretus II recommended to organize an auction of the huge stock of books. He explained in detail how to tackle such an auction. The instructions shed new light on a key era of the Plantin Press. For instance Balthasar Moretus II appears to be the architect of the exclusive specialisation in service books, and not his son Balthasar III. In this paper I will discuss what Balthasar Moretus II proposed in his instructions, and what his widow and heirs actually have done after his death.
- Noël Golvers (KULeuven)
- The ‘Officina Plantiniana’ in Antwerp and its role in the communication between China and Europe in the 17th and 18th centuries
In the second half of the 17th century, and again in the early 18th century, Antwerp was one of the ‘hubs’ in the communication between the – dramatically expanding – Jesuit mission in China and the European continent. The Officina – always in close contact with the Antwerp Professed House, also through members of the family in the Society – was an almost obligate destination for the mission procurators periodically returning from China to Europe, for acquiring books for the Jesuit libraries in China, both Plantiniana and other editions (with as most ‘spectacular’ moment 6 December 1616, when Terrentius-Trigault bought 332 books). In addition, the ‘officina’ was also an important hub in the exchange of letters between (Central) Europe and China, and in delivering books ordered in China from Holland, Germany and France (the ‘vicinia’). This function was revitalized between 1718–1730, when the Jesuit Professed House and its procurator, Petrus Maelcamp, the Moretus house and the ‘Ostend Company’ realized a synergia, and a very efficient communication channel between Europe and China. Testimonies of all this are extant books, inscriptions, and a corpus of letters.