L'ENCHIRIDION, OU ABRÉGÉ ET SOMMAIRE DE L'INSTRUCTION EN LA SCIENCE DE DIEU, DU FIDÈLE CHRESTIEN, EN FORME DE DIALOGUE.
([Paris]: Michel de Roigny, 1567). 170 x 107 mm. (6 3/4 x 4 1/4"). 16 p.l. (last blank), 456 [i.e., 453],  pp. FIRST EDITION.
Original dark brown calf "centre-piece" covers with central gilt oval of Islamic design, the motto "Tout se passe" and the name "Ferry" above the oval and the date 1573 below, laid onto newer period-style spine and edges, raised bands, spine compartments with gilt leaf sprig. Front pastedown with earlier auction description pasted on. USTC 61029. Leather somewhat dry and crackled, joints and extremities a bit rubbed, one corner bumped, but the binding sound and not without appeal. Flyleaves a little loose, leaves slightly browned at edges, occasional marginal stains, final quire with light brown stains to fore-edge margin (not affecting text), otherwise an excellent copy, generally clean and fresh.
This attractively bound and rare work by French scholar and zealous opponent of the Reformation Gabriel Du Préau sets forth the essential doctrines of the Catholic Church in the form of a vernacular dialogue that would be easily accessible to the layperson. Du Préau (1511-88), also known by the Latin name Prateolus, was the author of a number of theological works supporting Catholic teachings, most notably a widely-read classification of heretics, "De Vitis Lectis et Dogmatibus Omnium Hereticorum." The binding here is a style popular in the late 16th century, distinguished by the presence of a medallion with a design inspired by Islamic art. We have not been able to identify the "Ferry" whose motto and name appear on the covers, but a late 19th century dictionary of French heraldry mentions the motto appearing on a book that bore the date 1572. The 1901 Book Prices Current records the auction of such a book, a French guide to civil law for non-lawyers. Perhaps the person for whom they were bound was a prosperous bourgeois, educated enough to have a personal library, but not scholarly enough to read Latin. This is one of the rarer works by Du Préau, with USTC and OCLC finding just four copies (two in France, two in the Netherlands), and none at auction since at least 1975. The book seems to be absent from the market: we could find no record of any auction sale on either RBH or ABPC. (ST15015)