(Paris: Boussod, Valadon et Cie. [1896]). 325 x 245 mm. (12 3/4 x 9 3/4"). 4 p.l., 181 pp., [1] leaf. No. 23 OF 75 DELUXE COPIES on Japanese vellum with an additional suite of plates in bistre.

VERY STATELY RED CRUSHED MOROCCO, ELABORATELY GILT, BY DURVAND (stamp-signed on front turn-in), covers with eight plain and decorative rules flanking a wide frame of tangent laurel stamps, the whole enclosing a central panel with gilt supra-libros of Marie Antoinette, raised bands, spine gilt in compartments with a large fleur-de-lys or gilt titling, wide and ornately gilt turn-ins, marbled endpapers and flyleaves, all edges gilt. With head and tailpieces and 27 engraved plates as called for, all with a second state in bistre, all with original tissue guards, one of the plates colored, another double-page. Front pastedown with engraved bookplate of Amy Bend [Mrs. Cortlandt] Bishop. A Large Paper Copy. Just a hint of rubbing to joints and extremities, otherwise VERY FINE, the text clean and fresh throughout, the margins very wide, and the scarcely worn binding dazzling with gilt.

This regal binding by one of the great Parisian ateliers is sufficiently luxurious even for a queen whose extravagance helped spark a revolution. This account of the youth of the doomed wife of King Louis XVI, Marie Antoinette (1755-93), is the work of historian Pierre de Nolhac (1859-1936), who led the efforts to restore the Palace of Versailles to its former glory and open it as a museum. He was an author of a number of works on the "ancien regime," focusing especially on the reigns of Louis XV and Louis XVI. Durvand (1852-1924) operated one of the finest workshops in turn-of-the-century Paris, and trained a number of talented artisans. In 1900 he was awarded a silver medal for his bindings at the Universal Exhibition, and, according to Flety, he was devoted to improving the craft of binding right up to his death. Former owner Amy Bend Bishop was the wife of noted collector Cortlandt Bishop, and it is clear from the present item that she shared his interest in fine bindings.