Unique works to travel through time
A facsimile is defined as an exact copy of a book made using a variety of digital and artisanal techniques which, when combined, produce an extraordinary result: not only does it reproduce the appearance of the object, but also the emotions stirred by touching an antique book. Several years ago, in order to disseminate invaluable illuminated codices that are difficult to consult or would otherwise be hidden away in the storerooms of libraries around the world, Treccani embarked on a journey into the world of facsimile publishing.
Cutting-edge technology is combined with craftsmanship and ancient bookbinding techniques. The cooperation between experts from different fields, whether technicians, historians and philologists, as well as lacquerers, silversmiths and bookbinders, is an essential part of the production of Treccani facsimiles.
Each illuminated codex and manuscript is scanned page by page, and the images are then transferred onto parchment paper using a specific printing technique, i.e. stochastic screening. Each sheet is handcrafted with the application of gold leaf, burin, enamels, strokes of silver and gold in paste, and reliefs. The pages are then hand-stitched using the same technique as the original. The volume thus composed is bound in leather, wood or velvet, decorated with impressions, silver corners, medallions, clasps in silver, gold or leather and headbands, bookmarks and kept in caskets made of wood and precious fabrics such as satin, silk and velvet. By collaborating with some of the world’s leading libraries, Treccani has managed to gain access to many of the most fascinating manuscripts in history and to reproduce them, making them available in precious limited editions. Some of the works made with the Bodleian Library in Oxford include The Decameron by Giovanni Boccaccio and the Bodley 646 codex, which contains the Astronomicon Libri II by Basinio da Parma, the first astronomical poem of Italian Renaissance Humanism. Another treasure kept in the Oxford Library is the Bodley 264 manuscript, one of the most richly illustrated codices in the world, made in the first half of the 14th century.
Another work made in facsimile is Marco Polo’s Bible, handwritten in the early 13th century in France, brought from China to Florence in the late 17th century, and kept in the Laurentian Library in Florence; the same library also houses the Laurentian manuscript Plut. 6.23, an 11th-12th century evangeliary, which is one of a kind due to its extraordinary amount of illustrations.
The pages and details of the Treccani facsimile editions take readers on a journey back in time.