(Amsterdam: Johannes Ratelband et al., 1726; Daniel van den Dalen, 1700). 425 x 255 mm. (16 3/4 x 10 1/8"). Two volumes. Edited by Jan Janszoon Schipper.
Contemporary stiff vellum, covers with blind-stamped mandorla in central panel, raised bands, faded ink titling. Woodcut initials and tailpieces, printed title pages with engraved vignette, several engraved title pages, seven plates (three of them double-page), and MORE THAN 400 ENGRAVED ILLUSTRATIONS, the majority emblematic, often amusing, and most after designs by Adriann van der Venne. Pastedowns of first volume with pasted-on woodcut coats-of-arms taken from the plate titled "Wapenen van de Heer Hoost-Officier, de Achtbare Heeren Burgermeesteren, de Heeren Schepenen, Raden, Pensionaris en Secretarisen des Stadts Enchuysen, 1666" in the book "Historie der vermaerde zee- en koop-stadt Enkhuisen" (1666); verso of engraved title page with the arms of Isaac Pauw, taken from the same plate, tipped on. Brunet I, 1684; Graesse II, 85. Just very mild soiling to vellum, first volume with occasional minor marginal foxing or smudges, M1 with curving four-inch closed tear at tail edge into text (no loss), four-inch wide light brown diagonal stain across Pp2-4, other trivial imperfections, but A MOST ATTRACTIVE COPY, clean and fresh internally, with sharp engravings throughout, and in stately bindings that are almost entirely unworn.
This appealing copy of the complete works of the man considered Holland's household poet is enriched with wonderful illustrations offering an intriguing glimpse of 17th-century Dutch life. A statesman of considerable importance, Cats (1577-1660) wrote a large quantity of insightful and charming philosophical verse, including some of the most important works of emblematic literature produced in the Netherlands. The present collection of his complete writings is of importance as literature, but its chief interest for us lies in the engravings, considered among the best works of painter and illustrator van der Venne (1589-1662). In keeping with the wide-ranging nature of the texts, the engravings here are as varied as they are delightful. There are a number of cuts in the tradition of Dutch emblem books, engravings with allegorical pictures and epigrams, sometimes freighted with mystical profundity. Another group of engravings, less elusive and more literary, are simply appealing illustrations of proverbs. But of the greatest charm and interest to us are the winning scenes of contemporary life in Holland, full of fascinating detail of costume, architecture, furnishings, recreations, social intercourse of several kinds, and all the other varied physical and interpersonal dimensions of living. We see persons from various stations in life playing games like battledore and shuttle cock, catching birds, digging graves, picking fruit, wooing, moving into new quarters, buying dolls, smelling melons at a market, bagpiping, and doing hundreds of other things that make up the variegated fabric of daily life. The delicacy, animation, and illuminating detail of the engravings add up to nothing short of immense delight. Our 1726 edition of the works has a section from the 1700 edition appended, "Gedachten op Slapeloose Nachten" ["Thoughts of Sleepless Nights"]. The woodcut coats of arms pasted into the first volume seem to indicate that our copy was once owned by an official (or perhaps the city council) in Enkhuizen, at that time one of the most important port cities in the Netherlands. (ST16341)
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PJP Catalog: ABA1stNov20.010