Bianchi, Alessandro

Recreating the Gillet Collection of Japanese Illustrated Books

This talk examines the provenance of a substantial body of Tokugawa-period printed books that were rebound in custom-made textile bindings, commonly referred to as 'Gillet' covers after the name of a former French collector. Building on a research paper delivered in occasion of the 2022 Symposium 'Arthur Tress and the Japanese Illustrated Book' (University of Pennsylvania), I shall look anew at illustrated books housed in major European and American institutions, in an attempt a recreating the now dispersed Gillet collection. Furthermore, in light of new evidence recently uncovered, I will discuss the identity of Mr Gillet, casting some light on his collecting activities.