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Plantin, Christophe


French bookbinder, printer-publisher; b. 1520?, near Tours, France; d. Antwerp, Belgium, July 1, 1589. He settled in Antwerp in 1549 as a bookbinder who turned to printing, achieving eminence in the late 16th century. Through employment of good type designers, such as Claude Garamond and Robert Granjon, his works reflected fine craftsmanship. His most famous publication was the eight-volume polyglot Bible (156973) in Aramaic, Greek, Hebrew, Latin, and Syriac, with text in parallel columns. The basic edition was 1,200 paper copies with an additional 13 on parchment for the patron, Philip II of Spain. In 1579, Plantin was designated by the Holy See and Philip as official printer of liturgical books for Spain and the Netherlands, a privilege held by his successors for two centuries. Between 1555 and 1589 he issued more than 1,600 works. His printer's mark, a hand from the clouds guiding a compass on earth, with the motto "Labore et Constantia," symbolized his life's work. He was succeeded by his son-in-law, Jan Moretus (15431610). His original building with its typographical equipment has been preserved as the Plantin-Moretus Museum.

Bibliography: c. plantin, An Account of Calligraphy and Printing in the 16th Century from Dialogues Attributed to C. Plantin, tr. r. nash (Cambridge, MA 1940). t. l. de vinne, The Plantin-Moretus Museum (San Francisco 1929).

[e. p. willging]

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