(Paris: Gruel et Engelmann, 1889). 165 x 83 mm. (6 1/2 x 3 1/4"). 2 p.l., 649 pp.,  (colophon) leaf.
STRIKING CONTEMPORARY BURGUNDY MOROCCO, ELABORATELY GILT, BY GRUEL (stamp-signed at tail of spine), UPPER COVER WITH A LARGE AND RICHLY DETAILED OVAL BAS-RELIEF PLAQUETTE OF THE LAST SUPPER framed above and below by a large panel of interlacing open strapwork comprised of abstracted gilt floral and foliate curls and other decorative elements, lower cover similarly decorated, with its central medallion containing a gilt cipher in intertwined majuscules, raised bands, spine gilt in double-ruled compartments with central arabesque, gilt filigree turn-ins, claret moiré silk endleaves, all edges gilt, original brass clasps with strapwork decoration. With 26 illustrations, comprised of 22 large black and white woodcut headpieces, and four chromolithographed plates with gold highlights, along with numerous uncolored woodcut initials. Front free endleaf gilt-stamp "24 Mai 1891"; first Communion card of Andre Gallien, dated 9 May 1895, laid in. A VERY FINE COPY, the morocco lustrous and the leaves entirely crisp and clean.
Gruel and Engelmann published and bound numerous works of devotion, like the present impressively adorned "Paroissien," a service book that includes the texts and prayers (in Latin and French) used to celebrate Mass throughout the year. The very pleasing plaquette on the front cover showing the Last Supper is reminiscent of the celebrated Apollo and Pegasus bindings done for collector Giovanni Battista Grimaldi (ca. 1524-ca. 1612). In her "Bookbinders and their Craft," Sarah Prideaux says that the Gruel firm, founded in 1811, "always had the highest reputation . . . for initiative in artistic matters, as well as for irreproachable execution in the detail of its many-sided achievements." Paul Gruel (1864-1954) took over the firm after the death of his father, the great Léon Gruel, in 1923 and ably directed the operation until his own death, maintaining the atelier's reputation for excellence. Over the years, the firm employed some of the most skillful artisans in the trade, including Prideaux herself. (ST12743b)
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PJP Catalog: 73.157