([Amsterdam]: s.n., 1641). 145 x 183 mm. (5 3/4 x 7 1/4").  leaves (complete). FIRST EDITION.
ELEGANT 19TH CENTURY NAVY BLUE CRUSHED MOROCCO, GILT, BY DAVID (stamp-signed on front turn-in), covers with French fillet frame and floral cornerpieces, raised bands, spine compartments with floral centerpiece, paisley cornerpieces, gilt titling, gilt-rolled turn-ins, marbled endpapers and flyleaves, all edges gilt. WITH 50 OVAL PORTRAIT-STYLE ENGRAVINGS AND ONE FULL-PAGE ENGRAVING. Front free endpaper with morocco bookplates of Robert Hoe and Cortlandt Bishop and with engraved armorial bookplate of Hermann Marx; old seller's description pasted on to front marbled flyleaf. Text in French, Dutch, and German. Franken, "L'oeuvre gravé des van de Passe" 1372; Brunet I, 22 ("rares et fort recherchés"); USTC 1010417. Joints and extremities with just a hint of rubbing, text lightly washed and pressed (in keeping with bibliophilic fashion at the time of binding), but AN ESPECIALLY APPEALING COPY--clean, fresh, and rather bright internally, with excellent impressions of the engravings, in a lustrous and extremely attractive binding.
This is the very pleasing Hoe-Bishop copy of a rare and much sought-after emblem book that cynically illustrates the pitfalls of marriage--primarily the problem of adultery. Wanton wives, neglectful husbands, pimps, madams, and lusty clerics who offer a comfort very different from absolution populate these sly and amusing vignettes, accompanied by rhymes in French, Dutch, and German. In portraits with wonderful period details, we see beautifully dressed women who accept the advances of courtiers to further their husbands' careers, cunning servants who help arrange assignations for cheating spouses, discreet midwives who provide methods to prevent conception or attend the birth of bastards to ruined virgins, and distressed wives of brutal or unfaithful men, who seek advice from priests only to be taken advantage of. The second part of the book is devoted to the cuckolds of Italy and Spain, men pictured at the jobs that command all of their time and attention, while their beautiful younger wives assuage their boredom with handsome lovers. The final full-page engraving shows the satyr Pan driving a wagon of couples drinking wine and laughing, two of them holding a pair of horns with which they plan to crown a cuckold. Called by Moseley one of the most "polished emblematists," our artist, Crispin Van de Pass (or Passe) was born in Utrecht in the final quarter of the 16th century. Like his brother Simon and sister Magdalena, the younger Crispin followed his father's trade of artist and engraver. Our copy has passed through three important libraries. The great American collector Robert Hoe (1839-1911), founding member and first president of the Grolier Club, likely commissioned our tasteful binding. According to Beverly Chew, Hoe's library was "the finest [America] has ever contained," rich in illuminated manuscripts, early printing (Hoe owned a Gutenberg Bible on paper and one on vellum), fine bindings, French and English literature, and Americana. Cortlandt F. Bishop (1870-1935) collected rarities of great value in the fields of illuminated manuscripts, early printing, and English literature, and was in many ways the heir to the bibliophilic eminence of Hoe. Financier Hermann Marx (d. 1947) was also a bibliophile of some distinction and a print collector who bequeathed some of the highlights of his collection to the British Museum. The present work, which exists in slightly variant forms, is uncommon in the marketplace and in institutional libraries. Our variant (with verses in French, Dutch, and German, rather than with English replacing, or partially replacing, German) is said by Franken to be the earliest. (ST15926)
Add to Cart Price: $15,000.00
PJP Catalog: 76.132