Six bindings are known which display in the centre of each cover a circular wreath enclosing a shield bearing the arms of an unidentified owner: Écartelé de gueules et d’or, la ligne du coupé denchée. Three of the books were printed at Basel in 1532, another at Basel in 1537, and the remaining two were printed at Florence in 1525 and 1534. Their owner evidently possessed a good command of Greek. On two bindings, the device “Elle ma faict Beavliev” is lettered around the wreath on upper cover, and the initials “P De B” appear in the same place on the lower cover (nos. 4, 6). Unfortunately, these initials have not yet enabled identification of the owner. Mirjam Foot proposed Pierre de Beaulieu (d. 1595), who was Conseiller au Parlement de Bordeaux (1577-1595), or his son (1578-1608);1 however, no record is found of a grant of arms to this family.Another Pierre de Beaulieu (d. 1572), Conseiller, notaire et secretaire du Roy, bore different arms.2
This is one of the earliest armorial stamps of the modern type, impressed in gold, and positioned at the centre of the design. The first collector to order a series of armorial bindings was Benoit Le Court of Lyon, who adopted the custom about 1540. The fashion carried to Paris, where it was taken up by Jean Brinon, Cardinal Charles de Lorraine, and several unidentified collectors. Anthony Hobson surveyed the introduction of the style, identifying thirteen stamps in use by 1550, and recording their usage. One example of the present stamp was known to Hobson (Aristophanes; see no. 1 in List below).3
At least three of the bindings (Arsenius, Boccaccio, Callimachus, nos. 2-4) can be credited to the Pecking Crow atelier, a shop probably established in Paris about 1535, but most active from about 1545 to 1550.