With Refined Engravings, and in a Binding of Commensurate Elegance


(Amsterdam [i.e. Paris]: s.n., 1772). 225 x 140 mm. (8 1/2 x 5 1/2"). viii, 200 pp. FIRST EDITION.

HANDSOME 19TH CENTURY RED MOROCCO BY ADOLPHE BERTRAND (stamp-signed on front turn-in), covers with lace-like gilt border, raised bands, spine compartments with double gilt rules, floral tools, and gilt lettering, gilt dentelles, all edges gilt. Woodcut head- and tailpieces, ENGRAVED TITLE PAGE, AND FOUR PLATES BY OR AFTER J. M. MOREAU (THE YOUNGER), AND FOUR ENGRAVED HEADPIECE VIGNETTES BY P. P. CHOFFARD. Ray, p. 69; Cohen-de Ricci, pp. 506-07 ("very pretty illustrations"); Holloway 105. A few pages a little browned, the occasional dusting of light foxing along the fore edge, a few small stains and negligible blemishes, but the leaves clean and crisp with generous margins, and the plates beautifully preserved--in all, an excellent copy internally, and in A NEARLY PRISTINE BINDING, with just the tiniest imperfections and hint of wear.

In an appropriately elegant binding, this edition of Imbert's version of the "Judgment of Paris" is graced with engravings that combine the work of two of the most prominent figures in the illustration of French books of the day. Ray says that the work done by Jean-Michel Moreau le Jeune (1741-1814) during the 1760s "showed him to be the equal of the established rococo masters Boucher, Eisen, and Gravelot" and that in his work during the 1770s, "he carried all before him." Less a book illustrator than a decorator, Pierre-Philippe Choffard (1730?-1809) came to prominence because of the decorations he produced for the 1762 edition of La Fontaine and the Ovid of 1767-71. He did a great deal of fine engraving, but very seldom from his own designs; the present work is distinguished by Ray as among the seven notable books with original Choffard creations. The headpiece and tailpiece vignettes that were his specialty can be seen here in the title poem's charmingly detailed little scenes depicting the apple of discord and the emblems and gifts of, respectively, Juno, Minerva, and Venus. The story here is a retelling of the incident that triggered the Trojan War: the decision by Paris, prince of Troy, to award the golden apple for the fairest of the goddesses to Venus, winning for himself the hand of the beautiful Helen and incurring the wrath of the spurned Juno and Minerva. "Jugement" is the best work produced by Imbert (1747-90), one of a group of young poets who took Dorat's work as their model. With the publication of the present book, Imbert immediately placed himself beside his master. Binder Adolphe Bertrand (d. 1932) established his atelier in Paris in 1865, specializing in bindings for liturgical books. His workshop remained in business until 1940 under the management of his sons.

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PJP Catalog: 73.142