LAIR (Pierre-Aimé)

Two reports from the Société d’agriculture et de commerce de Caen printed on straw paper.

Caen, F. Poisson, 1805-1819.

Two in-12 booklets (215 x 130 mm).

Two extremely rare specimens of prints on straw paper made by Gabriel Désétables, a pioneer of this type of paper during the First Empire, and “the most skilled manufacturer in Vire and the entire Bocage (1)”. He ran four plants in Saint-Germain-de-Tallevende, near Vire.

These two reports by the Société d'agriculture et de commerce de Caen each devote a paragraph to the straw paper manufactured by Désétables, whose development is described as very recent in the 1805 brochure. Only a few copies of these reports were printed on this paper.

These rustic specimens of 1805 and 1819 straw paper are displayed for the beauty of their technical achievement, far removed from any bibliophilic considerations.

1) LAIR (Pierre-Aimé).
Rapport général sur les travaux de la société d'agriculture et de commerce de Caen.
Caen, Chez F. Poisson, 1805.
In-12, 59 pp. in muted contemporary boards.

The Commerce section sheds light on the technical advances of papermaker Gabriel Desétables:
“Until now, only mallet mills have been used in the paper mills of Vire and Sourdeval; but M. Désétables will soon be putting cylinders into use. We all know how much our colleague has contributed to perfecting the art of papermaking. He has already succeeded in making white and colored papers that rival the finest from Holland and England. He has just recently made paper from straw. This paper, which at first was seen only as the product of a conquered difficulty, can be used for many purposes thanks to its consistency. (*) Our colleague gave the Society interesting details of his factory in Vire, and expressed his desire to set up one in Caen. [...] * Some copies of this report are printed on straw paper. pp. 33-34.

2) LAIR (Pierre-Aimé).
Discours sur la seconde exposition des produits des arts du département du Calvados en 1806.
Caen, De l'imprimerie de F. Poisson, 1819.
In-12, 14 pp. paginated from (81) to 94, in sheets; modern stitching.

Separate edition, some copies of which, like this one, were printed on straw paper. A separate first edition appeared in 1806.

“Next to the papers used to line apartments, is the paper intended to preserve goods on long journeys, and that which, with the aid of printing and writing, becomes the repository of man's thoughts. You will also notice this paper made from straw, suitable for various uses and even for printing: in this way, art seems to metamorphose everything to its liking, and the vilest material, most susceptible to easy destruction, can serve to immortalize heroes. page 88.

(1) Richard Séguin. Essai sur l'histoire de l'industrie du Bocage en général, et de la ville de Vire. Vire, Adam, 1810. pp. 159. : "Le sieur Desétables est même parvenu à fabriquer un papier avec de la paille."
Gabriel Désert. Artisanat et industries dans le bocage virois du premier au second Empire. Annales de Normandie. Année 1990. pp. 527-529

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