Five bindings lettered with the motto “Tu tibi ipse sis fortuna” are known. They cover books printed at Paris by Simon de Colines in 1540 or 1541: a volume of Cicero’s letters to friends, a three-volume set of Ovid’s Opera, and Martial’s epigrams. All five volumes are in sextodecimo format, and as they were harmoniously bound in the same shop, they might be remnants of a travelling library.
A similar motto (Tu tibi sis ipse fortuna) is associated with the family Le Clerc de Franconville (Île-de-France).1 At this time, the seigneury was held by Nicolas Le Clerc (d. 1563), Conseiller du Roi au parlement de Paris, and a scholar. Nicolas gave lodgings in his house to the young Denis Lambin (1519-1572), and his heirs made a posthumous gift to Lambin of a manuscript of Cicero from Nicolas’s library.2 Suggestions that the motto relates to the seigneury of Franconville-au-Bois (Saint-Martin-du-Tertre), held successively by the Le Baveux and d’O families (until 1769), cannot be substantiated.
Past descriptions of these “Tu tibi ipse sis fortuna” bindings have drawn attention to a similar design with solid tools executed by Claude Picques for Jean Grolier (1522 Asconius), and to a binding by Claude Picques for Grolier perhaps employing the same tools to form the central cartouche (1520 Velleius Paterculus).3