Joslin Hall Rare Books

Curious, Unusual, Interesting & Occasionally Useful Books of the 16th-20th Centuries exploring the skills, trades, lives and ways of other times...

 Friday, December 15, 2017

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Joni, J(Icilio) (F)ederico.
Affairs of a Painter.

London Faber and Faber Limited: 1936.

J.F. Joni (1866-1946) was an ingenious, prolific and outspokenly candid artist, art restorer and forger. Joni forged a variety of paintings and other objects, including furniture and book bindings, often in Renaissance styles. This 1936 autobiography recounts many of the high points of his varied careers, and tells, in at least some detail, the tricks of the forger's trade. We have had some of his forged book covers, and a brief description of how these came about is indicative of the work of this fascinating artist. Joni got the idea for forging "tavolette" covers, the wooden book boards used to hold Sienese tax accounts in the 13th-17th centuries, after reading a description of them in a pamphlet. Interestingly, the imaginative forger had never actually seen an example, and his creations far exceeded the plainly-decorated wooden covers of the genuine articles. Joni backed his covers with gold foil, adorned by a punch-work pattern, and then decorated them with coats of arms and mottoes. He used bronze bosses at the corners which he aged by bathing them in ammonia, and filled in the remaining space with elaborate floral and leaf decorations. As Otto Kurz ("Fakes -A Handbook for Students and Collectors") points out, Joni's creations are distinctive and identifiable because "nothing like these painted wooden bindings ever existed before Joni, neither in Sienna nor anywhere else... Joni, who was proud never to have gone to look at the originals, made a fanciful but successful invention." In fact, in this book, Joni cautions forgers never to too-closely mimic the work of a known artist or craftsman, so that experts will not have a concrete original to make comparisons to. Ingenious.

Hardcover. 5.5"x8.25", 345 pages, pictorial dust jacket. Some light wear and soil. Jacket with moderate wear and some chips.

Inventory #: 32761
Price: $ 350.00      

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