Christophe Plantin as the founder of a dynasty
- Plantin founded a dynasty that lived and worked in the house and printing press for nine generations.
- He married Jeanne Rivière, and together they had six daughters and a son. Five of the daughters reached adulthood.
- Plantin’s daughters learnt to read and write from a very young age, and were helping to correct texts in the print shop from the age of five.
- Three of his sons-in-law worked for the business.
Christophe Plantin as a businessman
- The Frenchman Christophe Plantin moved to Antwerp around 1550 to develop his printing business there.
- By 1570, his publishing house was the largest in the world.
- In its heyday, the printing works had 22 presses and more than 80 employees.
- His publishing house, ‘Officina Plantiniana’ on Antwerp’s Vrijdagmarkt, had branches in Leiden and Paris.
- But Plantin was not just a printer and publisher: he also sold maps, prints and globes, and had a lucrative line in lace.
Christophe Plantin as a pioneering business leader
- Plantin was the favoured publisher of scientists and humanists.
- He introduced typefaces that are still in use today, such as Garamond.
- Plantin printed works in Latin, Dutch, French, Greek, Spanish, Hebrew, German, Italian, Syriac and Aramese.
Christophe Plantin as a printer
- The works Plantin printed were religious, liturgical, humanistic, scientific, botanical, linguistic, medical, cartographic and musical in nature.
- He attracted the best artists to illustrate the books of herbs of Dodoens, Clusius and Lobelius. These books still inspire plant lovers all over the world today.
- One of Plantin’s masterpieces was a Bible weighing 48 kg and containing 1,788 sheets. It was the product of four years’ work.
- Printers delighted in outdoing one another with luxury editions and minuscule books the size of an eraser. Plantin printed a tiny calendar measuring 22 by 35 millimetres.
- In his shop, he sold atlases and maps by the leading geographers of his time, which were useful and often very beautiful too.