(Paris: Defer de Maisonneuve, 1793). 333 x 247 mm. (13 x 9 3/4"). 125 pp. First Edition with these Illustrations.
Pleasing contemporary black half roan over black paper boards, smooth spine gilt in panels with vase or patera centerpiece. Original (somewhat worn but solid) board slipcase. FOUR FINE STIPPLE-ENGRAVED PLATES by Colibert and Cazenave after Monsiau, PRINTED IN COLORS, original tissue guards. Front pastedown with ex-libris of Jean Furstenberg. Cohen-de Ricci 400; Furstenberg 122; Lewine, p. 188; Maggs 1930 Catalogue of French Illustrated Books 84; Ray, p. 145. Corners a little bumped, a few hardly noticeable blemishes on covers, but the binding not just solid, but with only trivial wear. A breath of foxing here and there, but extremely fresh and clean internally, with vast margins. AN EXTREMELY FINE CONTEMPORARY COPY.
This edition of Florian's pastoral romance in imitation of Cervantes is one of the grander French books to be printed in colors when the vogue for such productions took hold during the last years of the 18th century. Ours is one of six such books, all printed after 1786, that Ray singles out for praise as "handsome and imposing volumes." A noted painter of both classical and modern subjects, Monsiau (1754-1837) was also an illustrator whose "abundant and interesting work in this line" is underrated, even though it has the merits of being simple, natural, lively, and piquant. (Ray) Monsiau's obscurity, says Ray, may be owing to the fact that he most often worked as a secondary collaborator on major illustrated works; the present book is one of the few he did on his own, and it is among his best. Publisher Defer de Maisonneuve did not develop the technique of stipple engraving on copper plates, but he did perfect the process, which allowed for gradual tonal changes in hues and intensities of color, rather than the "stained glass" effect of separately printed patches of color. The Maggs catalogue states that this work is very rarely found in a full binding, "as it appeared at a troubled time when purchasers refrained from having books bound expensively. Normally copies are found in boards, or, at the best, in half-bindings." Our copy has the engraver's name just visible beneath the plates, so perhaps it does not qualify as "avant la lettre," but it is obviously printed on thick luxury paper and with extremely ample margins. The volume comes from the renowned library of Jean (or Hans) Furstenberg, who wrote several books on 18th-century French book illustration. (ST13807)
Add to Cart Price: $1,900.00
PJP Catalog: 75.128