(Zurich: David Gessner, 1768). 169 x 94 mm. (6 1/2 x 3 3/4"). 272, 64, 214 (of 215) pp.
CONTEMPORARY PAINTED AND BLIND-TOOLED VELLUM, DECORATED IN AN ELABORATE AND QUAINT STYLE, covers with black and red starburst at center in a lobed red and green frame stamped with stars and tulips, yellow cornerpieces stamped with a floral design, smooth spine painted red and tooled in blind with flowers, Dutch gilded endpapers, all edges gilt. Covers faintly soiled, extremities lightly rubbed, one leaf with two-inch portion torn away at fore margin (costing small parts of five closely spaced staves of music) occasional foxing of no great consequence; with some serious condition issues internally, but an extremely pleasing example of a binding representing German folk art of the period.
Although lacking the final leaf of text, this volume is of considerable interest as an expertly made and decorated so-called "Peasant Binding," a colorful binding style that began in Hungary and spread through Germany, the Netherlands, and Scandinavia in the 18th century. The use of the word "peasant" in this context is a reference to the obvious influence of folk art on this decoration, rather than to the clientele for which it was intended. Bibles, prayer books, and hymnals in the brightly painted and exuberantly decorated vellum bindings were popular wedding gifts among the bourgeoisie, who were both literate and sufficiently affluent to afford such luxuries. (ST12938)