(Paris: Goupil & Cie. 1903). 320 x 240 mm. (12 1/2 x 9 1/2"). 4 p.l., 205 pp.,  leaf, No. 153 OF 800 COPIES.
ESPECIALLY STRIKING ROYAL BLUE CRUSHED MOROCCO, RICHLY GILT, BY DURVAND (stamp-signed on front turn-in), covers with a bold and intricate frame featuring coronets, sunbursts, and much leafy vegetation, royal supralibros at center; raised bands, spine gilt in compartments with royal insignia at center surrounded by small tools, and an oblique fleur-de-lys at corners, turn-ins with wide gilt floral roll, marbled endpapers and flyleaves, all edges gilt. Original paper wrapper bound in. With engraved frames by Cochin enclosing text at beginning of each chapter, engraved tailpieces, 42 plates, as called for, two in color, three double-page, all with lettered tissue guards. Front pastedown with a reproduction of the ex-libris of Madame de Pompadour, pictured on p. 93. Intermittent light foxing to margins, otherwise A VERY FINE COPY, internally clean, fresh, and bright, and in an unworn binding that glistens with gold.
This elegant binding by one of the great Belle Époque binders--displaying more dazzling gilt than leather--is an appropriate covering for this account of a king and his most famous mistress, written by the curator of the Palace of Versailles. The Marquise de Pompadour was a well-educated bourgeoise who became one of the king's most trusted and influential advisors. A brilliant woman, La Pompadour was a friend of Voltaire's and helped to get Diderot's encyclopedia published. Historian Pierre de Nolhac (1859-1936) 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 esepcially on the reigns of Louis XV and Louis XVI. Our binder 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. (ST13186)
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PJP Catalog: SE18BF.015