([Geneva]: François Estienne, 1567; Geneva: Jérémie des Planches, 1587). 172 x 110 mm. (6 3/4 x 4 3/8"). First work: 4 p.l., 370, 90, 122,  leaves (Z5 and Z6 from the Old Testament misbound in the Index between R3 and R4); second work:  leaves (of 80); Hh7 adhering to rear free endpaper, lacking Hh8-Kk8, containing the form of prayers for marriage and an historical calendar).
SUPERB CONTEMPORARY CALF, LAVISHLY GILT AND ONLAID "À LA RÉPÉTITION," covers with central panel of repeating ornate filigree gilt lozenges, with onlaid central oval of black morocco surrounded by small circles of tan morocco, the panel enclosed by a frame with smaller versions of the lozenges and with onlaid ovals at corners, flat spine with large gilt filigree lozenge surrounded by a frame containing 32 onlaid tan circles connected by gilt filigree, boards with four tiny holes from long-gone metal clasps, edges gilt and elaborately gauffered (very expertly rebacked and recornered, preserving original backstrip). In a velvet-lined maroon morocco-covered wooden box designed to look like a book. Printers' devices on title pages, wood-engraved headpieces and initials, Old Testament with 22 delicate wood engravings in the text. Without the inserted genealogical table, two plates, and three maps mentioned by Brunet, but not present in the Fairfax Murray copy or in the USTC record. Front pastedown with pasted-on slip of paper with a handwritten quote from Psalm 91 (in French) and the (crossed-out) name of 19th century owner "John Monnard"; front free endpaper with engraved bookplate of Maurice Burrus; verso of title to New Testament inscribed by "C. Monnard." Not in Renouard or Schreiber. Adams B-1145 (Bible) and B-1491 (Psalms); Fairfax Murray 39 (Bible); Brunet I, 801; USTC 1473 (Bible) and 60179 (Psalms). One small patch on lower cover with lost gilt and patina from insect activity, a tiny wormhole to the front and the rear joint, but the beautifully restored binding quite sound and glistening with gilt; title page a little soiled and mounted on heavy stock, occasional mild browning, small stains, or short marginal tears, three leaves with two- to three-inch closed tear into text (no loss), Pp4 in Bible with five-inch tear, repaired on verso with two strips of paper in margins (one grazing text), Ff2 in Psalms missing lower fore-edge corner, with loss of portions of eleven lines; not without issues, but any internal shortcomings more than made up for by the remarkable beauty of the binding.
This pleasing edition of the Protestant Bible and the Psalms in French rhyme comes in a dazzlingly decorated binding that almost seems at odds with the volume's Calvinist origins. After leaving the Catholic Church, the great French printer Robert Estienne emigrated to Geneva, the city of John Calvin, taking his youngest son with him to be educated there. François (b. ca, 1503, active 1562-82) became a printer like his father and brothers, producing almost exclusively Bibles and Calvinist theological works. The fine wood engravings in the text are mostly of the Temple in Jerusalem and its accoutrements, and the Ark of the Covenant. We have been unable to identify the binder here, but he was an extremely gifted gilder who left scarcely any surface unadorned, and the impression his work leaves here is one of memorable beauty. It is possible that the John Monnard who pasted a beloved verse in the front of the book was the young Geneva Reformed Church minister sent to serve a church in Amiens in 1838. It is definite that our volume was in the renowned collection of Maurice Burrus (1882-1959), an Alsatian tobacco magnate and distinguished philatelist who also amassed an impressive library. (ST14788)
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PJP Catalog: NY20BF.028