Aphrodite Page 5

Orange ink bleeding into black ink.

Aside from the outer bibliographic codes of the book, the physical features of the pages within the book that contains the main text play a significant role in the interpretation of the significance of the book on its own. Each page contains colorful borders around the edges with intricate designs on around the headings that indicate the beginning of a new section or chapter. At the end of these sections are different small illustrations that almost look like crests or pictures that belong on small items such as coins or jewelry.

 

Aphrodite Emblems

Emblems hinting at Japonism influence on the book's creation.

One such illustration is a sketch of Aphrodite and another is a floral design that resembles the design on the cover of the book. These illustrations are repeated throughout the text and the borders are present on every page in a green color. All text is black with the except for the headings with are in red with the elaborate, decorative floral design.

In regards to the illustration by Paul Regnard, further research indicates that this was a pseudonym for the Czech-born famed artist František Kupka (British Museum) who lived in France during the time period that the illustration was printed. Since he lived in France for an extended amount of time, the pseudonym was probably used to help make the illustration feel more “French” to the local readers.

Once again, this reoccurring theme of lavish displays, luxuriousness, and beauty are all depicted by the elaborate display of design and décor throughout the book. Most of the book includes designs throughout but in the beginning pages of the book, there is a large-scale photograph of Aphrodite printed in full color on thick paper. This page seems to be a separate leaf that might have been pasted in given the change in the paper as well as the relative size of the leaf in comparison to the other leaves. On the verso side, there is a caption of the picture.

Given the observation of these details, it may be possible that the owner of the book could have requested to have the picture placed in similar to the way the owner determines the way in which a book is bound which largely is dependent on the book owner’s financial status.

 

Aphrodite painting

Illustration by František Kupka, alias Paul Regnard.

This connection once again reveals a perspective into the life of the book owner and the importance of books at the time, whether it was for their monetary value, intellectual use, or as a symbol of societal and social influence.

If one looks closely at the illustrations, there is a little bit of bleeding over from the colored inks. It should be noted that these illustrations bear an impressive similarity to the woodblock illustrations of that in the Japanese Print book exhibit. Coinciding with the Japon emblem, and the Ex Oriente Lux emblem, this may be invocative of the Japonism period of culture that the world and France in particular was experiencing during the time period (Colta).

Aphrodite Page 5