On our way from Rotterdam to Ghent, we stopped in Antwerp. I had come across the description of the Plantis-Moretus museum and decided I really wanted to go. I love museums that are a mix of a rich person’s home and a certain niche collection. My favorite example is the Isabella Gardiner museum in Boston. But in Antwerp, the Plantis-Moretus museum is the home and office location of a family-owned printer that published many of the books during that time which was key for academics, botanists, doctors, clerics, and intellectuals.
The audio tour is included in the entrance and is quite good. There are also books on loan, which contain the transcript of the audio tour and a few extra tidbits.
Initially, we started the wrong way and went into the printing press room. Two of the presses are very old and date back to the 1600s. Amazing!
We toured through the house, to include the office spaces, the copy-editor room, the libraries, and Mr. Plantin’s bedroom, complete with his deathbed portrait. That seems a little grim.
The second floor contained a lot of books and some plates, copper and woodblock. The collection has some incredible works, including a Gutenberg bible. Um, it wasn’t displayed. Boo hoo, I’m not sure what I was expecting- that it would be laying out, ready for me to rifle through to find my favorite Bible verse?!? But many of the works are digitized so I’m going to explore the website when I get home!
Here are the letters for Garamond font! The amount of fonts that Mr. Plantin owned were very impressive- quite a monopoly!
Finally, a lot of the walls were lined with embellished leather panels, which were quite luxe and very status symbol-y. Just as an FYI to any ethical vegans touring the museum- you may become very sad!