Docteur Guillié, Essai sur L’Instruction des Aveugles

Docteur (Sébastien) Guillié, Essai sur L’Instruction des Aveugles (Paris, 1817). Book. Dimensions: 220 x 250mm x 30mm (open).

 RNIB Collection A10 RESLIBb10006330

Book open on frontispiece, left hand side is an image of two blind students, right hand side is book information

Credit: RNIB

This French book from 1817 charts recent educational methods and literacy tools employed at the Royal School for Blind Youth, Paris following Haüy’s departure in 1803, now under the direction of Dr Sébastien Guillié. The frontispiece image shows two young blind people engaged in new embossed writing practices. The young woman imprints embossed letters using pins arranged in the box to her left onto a large writing frame, whereas the young man, both his hands positioned on a book, tracks embossed writing with his fingers. The School maintained a printing press embossing books in the Roman alphabet, but the high costs prohibited extensive activity.

Object Description:

This book is open on the title page. An engraved, black and white image has been reproduced on the left hand page, publication details are reproduced on the right (transcription below). At the top of the image the word ‘Frontispice’ is displayed as engraved letters on a stone tablet, supported by two architectural columns which stretch down the left and the right hand side of the page, decorated with objects including manuscript scrolls, a basket, and fabrics.  The columns rest on a rectangular, marble base which fills the bottom section of the image. It is inscribed with the Latin words ‘Filii, vestri antem beati / Oculi quia nunc vident’ which is attributed to S. Math. Resting on this base are an array of objects, including a set of compasses, a globe, books, musical instruments, sheets of music, and a music stand. A platform stands on this base, on top of which rests a large desk. To the left hand side of the desk sits a young woman of approximately 16-20 years, to the right sits a young man of approximately the same age. The top of their heads rest roughly in the middle of the image. Rising above their heads in the middle of the image, stopping just beneath the engraved tablet ‘Frontispice’, is a sculpted bust resting on a plinth, which is inscribed ‘Saunderson’. The young woman is dressed in an empire-line dress which reaches to her feet (which are not visible), with full-length sleeves. Her hair is pinned up, and her eyes are coloured white. She reaches with her left hand to a box divided into approximately 30 compartments, whilst her right hand rests on a large frame, which is propped up at an angle from behind by a wooden support. The frame is divided by eight horizontal lines: the first three lines have been marked with print. The woman’s right hand is positioned at the end of the bottom line of print. The man is smartly dressed in a long-sleeved jacket, buttoned up, with a cravat around his neck. His trousers are not visible behind the desk. He has dark hair and his eyes are coloured white. Both his hands are positioned on a book: his fingers are slightly raised. A small inscription at the bottom left of the image reads ‘Dubois, del et sc.’ [End description]

[Transcription of frontispiece]: ESSAI SUR L’INSTRUCTION DES AVEUGLES, OU EXPOSÉ ANALYTIQUE DES PROCÉDÉS EMPLOYÉS POUR LES INSTRUIRE, PAR LE DOCTEUR GUILLIÉ, Directeur-Générale et Médecin en chef de l’INSTITUTION ROYALE DES JEUNES AVEUGLES DE PARIS, Chevalier de la Légion-d’Houneur, Docteur en Médecine de la Faculté de Paris, Membre de la Sociéte Royale Académique des Sciences de la meme ville; des Académies des Sciences, Belles-Lettres et Arts de Cambrai, Chálons, Caen, Dijon; de la Société de Médecine pratique de Paris; des Sociétes Médicale d’Émulation et de Médecine de Bordeaux, Marseille, Avignon, Évreux, Clermont-Ferrand, etc. [???Greek letters] CALLIMAQUE. A PARIS, IMPRIMÉ PAR LES AVEUGLES, ET SE VEND A LEUR BÉNÉFICE, A L’INSTITUTION, Rue Saint-Victor, no 68. 1817 [End transcription]

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