Éditions du Prieuré were born from a passion for graphic arts and a desire to celebrate the great history of France (and elsewhere) inside of elegant graphic objects.
Our goal is to create a collection of unique printed objects that highlight some of the great figures in history as well as some of the historical and mythological stories that have forged the collective imagination of the Western world. We approach our work with the intention to honor and uphold the great authors, the kings of times past, and the ancient philosophers all while paying tribute to our glorious past.
To bring this project to fruition, we have installed our workshops inside of a twelfth century priory located in the heart of the French Jura. From this historically-charged place, we are able to continue the work of the former copyist monks by creating, engraving and printing our original proofs. Each visual is unique, stemming from extensive iconographic research and constant graphic experimentation in order to honor the subjects we represent.
In an age of digitization and dematerialization, Éditions du Prieuré adheres to a material, corporeal approach by offering living objects carved from raw material by experienced craftsmen. Even within the series, each copy is unique, since each proof is inked in a particular way by the engraver, making each copy a unique work of art.
Intaglio engraving: heritage and tradition
Why use intaglio engraving? Why take on this long and difficult process that just takes up more time in our modern age of rapid digital printing?
It is no doubt for its complexity that we are attracted to the process. Intaglio engraving is a living art, rooted in Western tradition allowing for both freedom of the hand and the spirit. Months go by between the first sketch and the printed engraving; this technique does not tolerate a hasty attitude and therefore requires great patience. Each of our prints take hundreds of hours of research, labor and adjustments. No one print is the same because—unlike using a digital printer—engraving is a sensitive and delicate art which leaves great flexibility to the master craftsman. But this sensitivity comes at a cost. In fact, the copper plate on which we engrave ends up being damaged under the pressure of the press, so the engraving is therefore not infinitely reproducible. That is why our prints are all done in a limited series.
The aesthetic qualities of intaglio are unmatched; the depth of its blacks, the liveliness of its colors, the gray that the plate leaves on the paper...all these elements make the engraving visually interesting and unique. The attentive eye will see the difference it has with a drawing. Intaglio is, in our eyes, the perfect technique to illustrate the glorious history of France and the Western World in general.
Out of coquetry, a very limited number of our engravings are gilded with 22 karat gold. This long and very delicate process allows us to highlight certain important details of the engraving.
Many great artists have excelled in this art form. Whether it’s to pay tribute to Dürer, Rembrandt, Vélasquez or even Goya, we humbly try to follow this path traced by the geniuses of yesterday. And, for obvious reasons, never forgetting copyist monks whose place we have taken in our old Juracian monastery.