A Handsome Set, with Well Over 100 Sometimes Dramatic Plates


(Amsterdam: Zacharias Chatelain, 1730). 355 x 230 mm. (14 x 9"). Three volumes. First Dutch Edition.

EXTREMELY ATTRACTIVE CONTEMPORARY MOTTLED CALF, raised bands, spine gilt in compartments with central floral lozenge, curling cornerpieces, one red and one brown morocco label, edges mottled in red and gray. Three title pages with vignettes plus 112 ENGRAVED PLATES, consisting of three engraved frontispieces by Picart, I. van Munnichuysen, and A. Blooteling, two folding maps, 57 engraved portraits by Picart and A. Vaillant, 49 double-page engraved plates by C. Decker, J. Mulder, Jan Luyken, and Picart, and one folding engraved plate by Daniel Marot. Front pastedown with engraved bookplate of the Hammer Library, Stockholm. A little rubbing to extremities, text with faint overall browning and very occasional minor spotting other trivial defects, but AN EXTREMELY PLEASING SET, the unsophisticated original bindings looking very handsome on the shelf, and the engravings--done on a higher quality paper--bright, fresh, and richly impressed.

This is the first appearance in Dutch of a classic history of the United Provinces of the Netherlands from the time of the revolt against Spain in 1560 up to the 1713 Treaty of Utrecht, enriched with fine engraved portraits of key historical figures and with large plates showing dramatic battles and other significant events. First published in French in 1728, the text is by the humanist philosopher Jean le Clerc, or Joannes Clericus (1657-1736), a French Huguenot who settled in the more tolerant city of Amsterdam. There, he taught at the Remonstrant seminary and wrote works of theology, philosophy, and history. His reputation helped him gain access to the Amsterdam municipal archives--the first historian to do so--where he found much source material for this work. Considered by Ray to be "the outstanding professional illustrator of the first third of the eighteenth century," Bernard Picart (1673-1733) was born in Paris, where he learned engraving from his father, Etienne, and from Sébastian Le Clerc, and "early acquired a reputation both as an artist and engraver." He moved to the busy publishing city of Amsterdam sometime before 1712, and established himself as both as printseller and as an illustrator/engraver. There, he designed and engraved an impressive body of illustrations for Dutch printers at a time when, in Ray's words, "designs for the finest illustrated books were typically drawn by leading painters." To meet the demand for his work, he established a roster of engravers to assist with large projects like the present one. Among the portraits here are representations of William of Orange, King Philip II of Spain, and Elizabeth I of England, and the double-page plates depict events including the Siege of Alkmaar, Leyden and Antwerp, the assassination of Willem I, and dramatic sea battles. The large folding plate is a view of the Great Reception Hall of the States General, later to become the House of Parliament.

Price: $9,500.00