(Lyon: Chez Rusand, 1816). 208 x 122 mm. (8 1/4 x 5"). 2 p.l., xlviii, 572 pp.
ESPECIALLY FINE CONTEMPORARY EMERALD GREEN SHAGREEN BY DUPLANIL (signed at foot of spine "DUPLANIL RELIr. DE S. A. R. MADAME"), covers with simple gilt rule frame, spine with raised bands flanked by gilt fillets and decorated with a dotted line, compartments with very pretty centered ornament of a flower with four pointillé petals set against a gilt square background, head and tail of spine with multiple decorative gilt rules, board edges gilt with Greek key roll, elegant gilt inner dentelles of urns and palmettes, pink endpapers, gilt edges. In a fine later fleece-lined burgundy morocco and marbled paper chemise and (slightly worn) matching slipcase. With woodcut vignette. Front end papers with morocco bookplates of Mortimer L. Schiff and John Roland Abbey. For the binding: De Ricci-Schiff III, 277 (this copy). A breath of chafing to covers, two leaves with slight paper flaws at fore margin, otherwise A BEAUTIFULLY BOUND BOOK IN VIRTUALLY PERFECT CONDITION.
This is an outstanding example of a French Restoration binding with illustrious provenance. The Duplanils were a distinguished family of Parisian binders active from the last part of the 18th until the middle of the 19th century. The signature at the foot of the spine here is that of Pierre Duplanil, known as Duplanil fils, the most notable member of the family; as this item indicates, he was the (self-styled) binder to "S. A. R. [Her Royal Highness] Madame," i.e, Madame Royale, the title borne by Marie-Thérèse Charlotte of France (1778-1851) the eldest--and only surviving--child of Louis XVI and Marie Antoinette. Although she had married her cousin the duc d'Angoulême, son of the future Charles X, she retained the royal title accorded her as the daughter of the king. (She later became "la Dauphine" when her father-in-law ascended the throne). Because of his client's changing appellations, we can confidently date the present binding as being done between 1816 and 1824. Madame Royale's books, which numbered about 1,800, were kept together for 20 years after her death, then sold at two auctions in Paris in the 1870s. Our volume is distinguished by its inclusion in Seymour De Ricci's impressive 1935 illustrated catalogue of Schiff's library of signed French bindings, part of what Dickinson calls an "unrivaled collection of decorative bindings." (This item is one of six Duplanil bindings in the Schiff catalogue.) The presence of the bookplate of J. R. Abbey (1894-1969), the most ambitious English book collector of his time, adds further luster to this item's provenance. Although Abbey's renowned library included world-class collections of private press books, illuminated manuscripts, and color plate books, bindings were his most ardent interest, and the various fine and important catalogues they spawned comprise perhaps the most enduring legacy of his collecting. During his most active period of binding acquisition, Abbey bought many items (and no doubt the present one) in the Schiff sale in 1938; this book, in turn, was lot #1740 in part III of the Abbey sale, purchased at Sotheby's on 19 June 1967 by B. W. Simpson (for £32). First published in 1639, the present biography of the bishop and devotional writer St. Francis de Sales, the author's friend and teacher, is among the most memorable of the 200 or so books produced by the diligent churchman Camus, bishop of Belley (1582-1652). (ST15737)