Anne Robinson, Karen Saxby
Our Enigma design is inspired by a cover said to have been designed by Le Gascon, a legendary but unidentified 17th-century bookbinder. The original was made of red morocco leather embossed and gilded with rosettes, spirals and dotted lines, but here we have used a beguiling black background to play up its mysterious origins.
Our Engima cover is inspired by an original binding said to be the work of a legendary but unidentified 17th-century bookbinder known only as Le Gascon. Revered among his peers and successors, including Marius-Michel and Paul Gruel, Le Gascon is credited with innovating (if not inventing) the “pointillé” and “fanfare” styles. Despite these monumental achievements securing his place in bookbinding history, the true identity of Le Gascon remains a mystery to this day.
Over the years there have been numerous theories attempting to identify the real Le Gascon. Some believe he was a gilder in the bindery of Nicolas Eve (or perhaps even Eve’s son, Clovis), while others argue he was in fact employed by Gaston, Duke of Orleans. Mysterious identity aside, Le Gascon is held up alongside Jean Grolier as one of the foremost personalities in the history of bookbinding.
Le Gascon–style bindings first appeared near the end of the reign of Charles IX and were revered for the sophistication and intricacy of their ornamentation. His bindings featured gilt decoration that spread out in repeated fanfare patterns and pointillé tooling bordered by bands. If this cover was not created by Le Gascon himself it is certainly in his style and is the work of another French master.
The original binding was made of red morocco leather embossed and gilded with rosettes, spirals and dotted lines. It also featured Le Gascon’s emblematic small compartments which were created by carving ridges into the leather. No matter who truly was the creator of the original binding, our cover pays homage to its consummate artistry and visionary design.