(BINDINGS - CHAMBOLLE-DURU). (FRENCH ILLUSTRATED BOOKS). DORAT, CLAUDE JOSEPH and ALEXANDRE FRÉDÉRIC JACQUES DE MASSON, MARQUIS DE PEZAY.
LE POT-POURRI, E´PITRE A` QUI ON VOUDRA; SUIVIE D'UNE AUTRE E´PITRE. [bound with] PEZAY. LETTRE D'ALCIBIADE À GLICERE, BOUQUETIERE D'ATHE´NES, SUIVIE D'UNE LETTRE DE VENUS A PÂRIS, ET D'UNE EPITRE À LA MAITRESSE QUE J'AURAI. [bound with] DORAT. LES DE´VIRGINEURS, ET COMBABUS : CONTES EN VERS, PRE´CE´DE´S PAR DES RE´FLEXIONS SUR LE CONTE, ET SUIVIS DE FLORICOURT, HISTOIRE FRANÇOISE.(Genève: Sébastien Jorry, 1764 [for the first two works]). 213 x 130 mm (8 3/8 x 5 1/8"). 1 p.l., -53, -36, -107,  pp. Three works in one volume.. FIRST EDITIONS.
ELEGANT 19TH CENTURY DARK GREEN CRUSHED MOROCCO, HANDSOMELY GILT, BY CHAMBOLLE-DURU (stamp-signed on front turn-in), covers with a gilt French fillet border, raised bands, spine gilt in double-ruled compartments with elegant curling floral cornerpieces and large tulip centerpiece, densely gilt inner dentelles, marbled endpapers, all edges gilt. WITH NINE IMMENSELY CHARMING ENGRAVED HEAD- AND TAILPIECE VIGNETTES AS WELL AS FIVE ENGRAVED PLATES, ALL BY CHARLES EISEN. A Large Paper Copy. Front pastedown with engraved bookplate of Gilbert Devilliers. Cohen-de Ricci, pp. 312, 796-97. A MAGNIFICENT COPY with only the most trivial imperfections, the binding unworn and especially lustrous, the text and plates entirely fresh and clean, the margins very spacious, and the impressions of the plates particularly rich.
This collection of light and occasionally racy verse was written by two notoriously rakish and dandified poets whose works were so in sympathy with one another that there is often confusion as to which one is the author of a particular piece. Of the three separately published works, the first one, described by Cohen-de Ricci as a "charming volume very elegantly illustrated," is attibuted to both men by the Bibliothèque Nationale, the general opinion being that the first poem, an account of a journey through the Loire Valley, is by Dorat, while the replying "Letter to My Friends" is by Pezay. The second work--poems in the form of letters to Alcibiades, Venus, and a "Former Mistress"--is usually (though not always) attributed to Pezay. The third work is generally acknowledged to be by Dorat; it contains the two "moral fables" entitled "Les Dévirgineurs" (the "Deflowerers") and "Combabus," as well as the prose tale of the libertine Floricourt. The second of the two "moral fables" is especially praised by Cohen-de Ricci for the "great beauty" of its engravings. A former musketeer, the Chevalier Claude-Joseph Dorat (1734-80) was known for his plays and airy verse but was more prolific (no fewer than 17 pages in Cohen-de Ricci are filled with citations for his works) than profound (for more about him, see item #81 above). Alexandre Fre´de´ric Jacques de Masson Pezay (1741-77), a commoner who bestowed the title "Marquis" upon himself, was a courtier whose best-known work is "Zélis au bain" ("Delia Bathing"). But despite the frivolity attached to him, Pezay had a serious side, as his scholarly books on maps and geography suggest. Apart from the handsome binding here, the chief attraction of the present volume is the celebrated illustrations, combining Rococo and Neoclassical elements, done by the poets' fellow libertine Charles Eisen. Bryan says that Eisen (1720-78), court painter to Louis XV and drawing master to Madame de Pompadour, had a hand in "almost all the important [illustrated] books published in France in his time." His "exquisite plates [are] engraved with a light point and with striking originality." He "took his inspirations direct from nature, but add[ed] something of the ideal, after the manner of Watteau and Boucher." The binding here is a perfect example of the kind of beautifully done French classical work produced for an extended period under the name of Chambolle. A rough contemporary of, and certainly the equal in technique to, binders like Trautz, Marius Michel Père, Lortic, and Cuzin, the elder Chambolle served his apprenticeship under Hippolyte Duru and later formed a partnership with him, as is clear from the stamped signature on our volume. Chambolle's son continued the business when his father retired in 1898, and in her "Modern Bookbindings," Sarah Prideaux says of her contemporary, "Chambolle most worthily continues the traditions associated with the name of his father. . . . To him are confided the classics of former times, which he clothes in the styles appropriate to them, keeping to a simplicity of ornamentation which reveals great taste and feeling for composition." The three works contained in our lovely volume are all seen only infrequently in the marketplace. (ST11491)