Vassar College Digital Library

François Fradin, 1497-1536 -- Printer's Mark

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Main (Thompson) Library location: Class of '51 Reading Room. Based on the information compiled from the colophons of his publications, it is evident that François Fradin (c.14-- – c. 15--) was originally from Poitiers. His career began circa 1493 in Lyon, where he worked with printer Jean Pivard. The first publication linked to Fradin himself is a Latin Bible from 1497. It does not appear that he ever left Lyon upon establishing his press, and books attributed to him there have been dated to as late as 1569; though it is unclear whether the colophons of some of these books refer to Fradin himself or point to a possible relative. Scholars believe that his career ended in 1537. Over the span of his prolific career, Fradin was mostly credited with the publication of religious doctrine, papal documents, and the writings of saints. A number of European humanists are included in his oeuvre of publication as well, such as Andrea Alciato and Nicolaas Everaerts. This traditional mark is composed of an orb-and-cross, specifically a patriarchal cross. Along the horizontally divided hemisphere, Fradin has inserted his initials, two elegants Fs. His full printing device displayed this mark on a shield presented by a mermaid and a knight. These two figures are thought to be Melusine and Geoffroy à la Grand Dent, the characters of folklore significant to Poitiers.
Photograph by Amy Laughlin

This project was created by Katherine Durr (VC '15) as part of the Ford Scholar program under the supervision of Professor Ron Patkus in Summer 2013.

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Additional Media
"The Mark of the Renaissance Printer" blog post by Katherine Durr, 2013 Vassar Ford Scholar: