This unorthodox Book of Prayers is entirely machine-woven of gray and black silk. Faced with coming up with a submission for the world' s fair of 1889, artisans in the textile capital of Lyons programed Jacquard looms with hundreds of punch-cards. So difficult was the project that this is the only woven book ever produced. The woven book nevertheless won a Grand Prize. It is now renowned as a proto-type for the computer. Woven in Lyon, perhaps passing through the Parisian agent J. Kauffmann, this is one of between 50 or 60 books printed with silver and black thread on silk looms that were programmed using the punched-card system developed by Joseph-Marie Jacquard (1752-1834). It was displayed in 1889 in the Lyon Pavillion at the Universal Exposition, featured by the firm J. A. Henry, whose textiles were highly reputed. The firm won a “grand prix” at the 1889 Exposition.
R. P. J. Hervier, designer; J.A. Henry, fabricator, for A. Roux, 1886-1887
- In Collection:
- Call Number: BV246 L58 1886
- Shelf Mark: MS.Fr.2
- 58 pages : illustrations ; 17 x 14 cm
- Livre de Prières Tissé
- Translated title: Book of Prayers woven after illuminations in manuscripts of the fourteenth and sixteenth century
- 46, 2
- 45.74846, 4.84671
- Fine binding of dark brown levant morocco by Kaufmann Petit, art nouveau Parisian binders, brown silk doublures, in pristine condition, with a marbled slipcase and chemise, brown morocco spine, elaborately gilt.
- Illustrated book on silk;  6 + 44 +  = 58 pp, small in 4o, 43 numbered pages, plus 6 printed preliminary pages, plus 4 pages front and back of mounted silk, unprinted, text block 168 x 138 mm., one half-page, three full-page illustrations, in addition to various styles of decorative borders and initials throughout on every page, woven entirely in silver-gray and black silk.
- From the Print Collection
- Purchased from Les Enluminures, Ltd. on the MSSF Fund, 2018.
- From Les Enluminures website: https://www.uvic.ca/library/locations/home/spcoll/documents/MsFr2_full.pdf
- Special Collections Inventory: https://www.uvic.ca/library/locations/home/spcoll/collections/medieval/inventory.php
- August 6, 2019 to August 7, 2019
- 600 dpi TIFF. Scanned on Betterlight TTI (camera height 600; 1/15; 283; Bent5) by PD. Cover and slipcover scanned atop buff coloured paper for contrast. Slipcover images at end of sequence. Ribbon bookmark placed at end of book throughout scanning. Metadata by KD.
- Contact Special Collections and University Archives for access to the original manuscript and for reproduction requests (fee for reproductions). This material is made available on this site for research and private study only.
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