Anne Robinson, Karen Saxby
The 1688 edition of L’office de la Semaine Sainte, a Latin liturgical book, was protected by a gold-plated leather binding. Reproduced on our Azure cover with a vibrant blue background, the antique design features an elaborate gilt-edged tendril motif.
Originally bound in 1688 in Paris, France, the book that inspired our Equinoxe series contained the many rites and observances to be followed during the week leading up to Easter, the most important period in the Christian calendar. To properly honour the contents, the intricate rules that governed life during this time were often housed in momentous and ornate bindings. This version of L’office de la Semaine Sainte (the liturgy for Holy Week) was especially adored as it was translated by Michel de Marolles, the notable French clergyman and translator. Sadly, he passed away in 1681 and never got to see the beautiful leather binding, stamped and gold-plated with tendril motifs, that contained his work.
The gold-tooled decoration adorning this cover is a style known as “fanfare,” an elaborate, handcrafted pattern edged in gilt. Especially popular in the early 1700s, the style dates back as far as the early 1500s and required tremendous skill on the part of the bookbinder. Because of the intricacy and expense associated with this goldwork, the technique was reserved for decorating books of great importance.
Blue, being the colour of the sky, is often seen as symbolizing heaven, and so we felt this celestial cover design appropriately represented the original contents of the binding on which it is based.
In cultures around the world, the first full moon after the vernal equinox is considered to be a sacred time, and so even for non-Christian people this period can hold great meaning. It is this universal connection that inspired us to choose the name “Equinoxe” for this rich and luxurious design.