M. Moleiro Editor

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M. Moleiro Editor is a publishing house specialised in identical facsimile reproductions of codices, maps and illuminated manuscripts. Founded in Barcelona in 1991, the firm’s dissemination of many masterpieces in the history of illumination and the great accuracy of its reproductions have made it one of the world’s foremost experts in this field.[1]


In 1976, whilst still a student, Manuel Moleiro created Ebrisa, a publishing house specialised in books on art, science and cartography which collaborated on a variety of joint enterprises with other publishers including Times Books, Encyclopaedia Britannica, Macmillan, Edita, Imprimerie Nationale and Franco Maria Ricci.[2]

In 1991, Moleiro decided to create a company with his own name and brand. Since then he has specialised in identical reproductions of some of the greatest medieval and Renaissance bibliographic treasures, obtaining authorisation to do so from libraries and museums of great universal renown such as the Bibliothèque nationale de France, the British Library, the Morgan Library & Museum, the Metropolitan Museum, New York, the National Library of Russia, the Huntington Library and the Gulbenkian Foundation, Lisbon.[3]

From the start, his ambitious cultural project has focused single-mindedly on the dissemination of these works of art, these manuscripts confined for centuries to archives and display cabinets beyond the reach of almost everyone because of the strict conservation requirements of such items, some more than one thousand years old. To certify this labour of cultural diffusion, each facsimile has a companion volume of studies by manuscript experts.[4]

Publishing activities[edit]

M. Moleiro Editor has enjoyed unprecedented success ever since their first facsimile editions whose meticulous details make them difficult to distinguish from the original manuscripts. As a result of publishers applying the term “facsimile” fraudulently and haphazardly to different types of reproduction of far poorer quality in recent decades, M. Moleiro Editor decided to label their codices “quasi-original” to reflect the outstanding results obtained from lengthy processes of trial and error. In 2010, the French newspaper Le Monde wrote, “The Spanish publishing house Moleiro has invented the “quasi original”, a more appropriate term for describing the extremely painstaking artisan work involved in manufacturing these works which are more like clones than facsimiles”.[5] Indeed, no expense is spared in any of their editions to duplicate the texture, smell, thickness and variable density of paper and parchment, the gold in the miniatures, the leather bindings, and thread used to sew them. The resulting copies are therefore deemed to be clones and not merely reproductions.

All this publisher’s editions are unique, first editions, limited to 987 numbered copies authenticated by notary public. The aim of all this is to offer readers a select, painstaking product likely to increase in value over time.

In 2001, The Times described the work of this publishing house as “The Art of Perfection”.[6] One year later in the same newspaper, Allegra Stratton wrote that “the Pope sleeps with one of Moleiro’s quasi-originals by his bed”.[7] With each passing year, Pope John Paul II has been joined by other dignitaries including the ex US presidents Jimmy Carter, Bill Clinton and George Bush, the Nobel prize winner José Saramago, the president of Portugal Aníbal Cavaco Silva, and King Juan Carlos I of Spain.

Landmark works reproduced by M. Moleiro Editor[edit]

M. Moleiro Editor has cloned several works by Beatus of Liébana – the Cardeña Beatus, the Arroyo Beatus, the Silos Beatus, the Beatus of Ferdinand I and Sancha and the Gerona Beatus – and also the three volumes of the Bible of Saint Louis, deemed to be the most important bibliographic monument of all time with a total of 4887 miniatures. Their catalogue also features many books of hours such as the Isabella Breviary, the Great Hours of Anne of Brittany and the Book of Hours of Joanna I of Castile; medicinal treatises such as the Book of Simple Medicines and Tacuinum Sanitatis and cartographic masterpieces such as the Miller Atlas and the Vallard Atlas.

Complete list of “quasi-original” editions[edit]


  1. ^ Stratton, Allegra (23 April 2002). "A literary favour to world culture". The Times (London). Moleiro manuscripts are so highly regarded that when President George W. Bush visited Madrid last year, the Spanish Government presented the American First Lady, Laura Bush, with a Book of Hours. The Pope, another loyal fan, keeps his copy of Moleiro's Martyrologies by his bed... The British Library owns all three of Moleiro's maps and Oxford's Bodleian has just bought the Pounds 9,000 St Louis Bible; of which Moleiro has already sold 500. 
  2. ^ Fonseca, Jesús. "Las joyas bibliográficas de Moleiro". Diario de Burgos, March 25, 2011.
  3. ^ Fonseca, Jesús. "Moleiro recupera a la Reina Isabel". Diario de Burgos, December 24, 2010.
  4. ^ Fonseca, Jesús. "Las joyas bibliográficas de Moleiro". Diario de Burgos, March 25, 2011.
  5. ^ «A Jaca, l’art roman reconnaisant». Le Monde, September 20, 2010
  6. ^ «The art of perfection». The Times, April 23, 2001
  7. ^ «A literary favour to world culture». The Times, April 23, 2002

External links[edit]