Germaine Guyart

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Entry by Mary Beth Winn, 2004

Widow of the renowned publisher Anthoine Vérard, Germaine Guyart is known from the colophons to three editions and from a few archival documents. Nothing is recorded of her early life, but she and Vérard had five children: two daughters (Marguerite and Jeanne), and three sons (Barthélémy, "libraire" like his father, and Claude and Guillaume, in religious orders). At Anthoine's death ca. 1512, Germaine inherited both his business and substantial property. Only three editions bear her name, but she may have participated in various "Vérard" editions produced from 1512-1532.

Germaine and Anthoine lived on the pont Notre-Dame until its collapse in 1499 and, with others, sued the city for damages. They moved meanwhile to the rue Saint-Jacques, then to the rue de la Juiverie. When the lawsuit was finally settled in 1516, after Anthoine's death, Germaine received the lease for housing on the new bridge but sold it to a goldsmith, remaining instead "devant la rue neufve Notre Dame". Sometime before 1540, she moved to the rue des Assis, for when her granddaughter, Germaine Vérard, was married that year to a draper, she promised them rooms and free use of extensive outbuildings there for six years.

Germaine died before January 31, 1544, and although she outlived her husband by more than thirty years, her participation in the dozen later "Vérard" editions is unclear. Barthélémy published under his own name and device Petrarch's Triumphes (1514) and a Bible en francois (ca. 1520). However, a Grant Vita Christi printed ca. 1520 "pour Barthelemy" bears Anthoine's device, while the Psalterium Daviticum printed ca. 1525 for "Anthoine" bears the device of Barthélémy. Three editions appeared from 1517 to 1519 under the name and device of "Anthoine Verard": a Bible en francois (1517), Froissart's Chroniques (1518), Octovien de Saint-Gelais's Séjour d'Honneur (1519). Presumably Anthoine's "héritiers," Barthélémy and Germaine, sought to capitalize on his reputation, but they soon collaborated with other printers. The Exposicions des Epistres et Evangilles of 1519 is signed Jean Petit, François Regnault, and Anthoine Vérard.

Germaine published three editions as "Veufve Anthoine Vérard," in collaboration with printers other than her son Barthélémy, dead by 1528. Senecque Des motz dorez, published by Simon Du Bois on 20.04.1527, is based on the 1509 edition of A. Vérard whose device appears on the title page. Germaine received a parliamentary privilege for this edition, and its text, printed on the last page and dated 04.04.1527, records her own name, her status as widow, and revelatory details about her procedures, financial concerns, and fear of rival editions. Five months later (19.10.1528), Antoine Couteau printed the royal Ordonnances et institutions "pour la veufve de feu Anthoine Vezard" [sic] but shared with Jehan Herouf whose name, address, and device appear on the title page. The Style de chancellerie, published on 02.05.1532 by Guillaume Bonnemère, A. Couteau, and J. Petit was, according to a copy now in Bordeaux, for sale in the widow Verard's shop, but the Paris (Ecole Nationale Superieure des Beaux Arts) copy provides only Bonnemère's address. Given such variants, Germaine may also have participated in two other editions based on those of A. Vérard, even though her name is unattested: the Miroir hystorial published by N. Couteau, G. Du Pré, J. de la Garde, and J. Petit in 1531; and the Histoires rommaines published by G. Du Pré, J. Petit, F. Regnault, and N. Savetier on 19.04.1532. While Germaine and Anthoine did not produce a Vérard dynasty, some of their descendants continued in the book trade. Their printer son Barthélémy had, in turn, a son Antoine, listed as "marchand libraire" in 1544, and perhaps two daughters, Germaine and Marie. Marie married the printer Jean André, and their daughter, also named Marie, married the printer Jehan Corrozet. Nicolas Barbou printed for J. André in 1542 a translation of St. Bernard's treatise, De la maniere d'aimer Dieu, by Claude Vérard, religieux at Clairvaux and presumed son of Anthoine Vérard and Germaine Guyart.

Selected bibliography

- Duval, Gaston. Nouvelles recherches sur Antoine Vérard et sa famille. Paris, Techener, 1898.
- Idem. «La Maison d'Antoine Vérard sur le pont Notre-Dame», Bulletin de la Société de l'Histoire de Paris, 1900, no. 2, 78-83.
- Macfarlane, John. Antoine Vérard. Genève, Reprint Slatkine, 1971 [London, 1900].
- Renouard, Philippe. Documents sur les imprimeurs, libraires, cartiers, graveurs, fondeurs de lettres, relieurs, doreurs de livres, faiseurs de fermoirs, enlumineurs, parcheminiers et papetiers ayant exercé à Paris de 1450 à 1600. Genève, Reprint Slatkine, 1969 [Paris, 1901].
- Winn, Mary Beth. Anthoine Vérard, Parisian publisher (1485-1512): Prologues, Poems, and Presentations. Genève, Droz, 1997.

Germaine Guyart
Spouses Anthoine Vérard
Also known as Veuve Anthoine Vérard
Birth date Around 1500
Death 1544
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