Robert I Estienne’s commitment to the production of beautiful Hebrew books is evident in the quality of the paper and fonts he used. After finding the existing Hebrew type available to him in Paris unsatisfactory, he hired Jean Arnoul, dit le
Picard le jeune
, considered one of the most skilled type-cutters of the age, to create new typefaces, which he began using in mid-1543. Estienne also made sure to reproduce the most accurate printed text of the Bible then in circulation, that of Daniel Bomberg’s Second Rabbinic Bible (Venice, 1524-1525). The attractiveness of the present pocket-size volume of Genesis through Leviticus – part of his 1544-1546 sextodecimo edition of the Hebrew Bible – is magnified by both the elegant binding and gilt and gauffered paper edges it sports.
Elizabeth Armstrong, Robert Estienne, Royal Printer: An Historical Study of the Elder Stephanus (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1954), 51, 119-121.
Hendrik D. L. Vervliet, The Palaeotypography of the French Renaissance: Selected Papers on Sixteenth-Century Typefaces, vol. 1 (Leiden; Boston: Brill, 2008), 136-144.
Vinograd, Paris 18