Lovely (Inserted) Engravings, Lovely Binding, and All about Love


(London: Printed by D. Bond, for J. Bew, 1778). 240 x 148 mm. (9 1/2 x 5 7/8"). x, [11]-238 pp. Third Edition, with Additions, and the "Epithalamium" Newly Translated.

LOVELY DARK BLUE STRAIGHT-GRAIN MOROCCO ELABORATELY TOOLED IN GILT BY TAFFIN (stamp-signed in gilt on front turn-in), covers with gilt frame entwined with large lozenge and with rays emanating from central ornate medallion to corners, raised bands, spine gilt in densely stippled compartments with central roundel and floral tools, gilt titling, gilt rolled turn-ins, marbled endpapers, top edge gilt, other edges untrimmed. Extra engraved title page with tondo portrait of the poet and engraved frontispiece by Bartolozzi, as called for, and EXTRA-ILLUSTRATED WITH 32 DELIGHTFUL ENGRAVINGS BY EISEN AND COCHIN printed on Japon, consisting of 12 full-page scenes, eight tailpieces (these with a second printing of the ornament in sanguine tipped on the plate), and two larger vignettes printed in sanguine tipped onto flyleaves at front and rear. Old dealer description tipped onto front free endpaper. Brunet V, 257; ESTC T101632. See also: Gray, "The Art of Love Poetry," pp. 83-85. ◆Trivial rubbing to joints, intermittent minor foxing to text (due to paper quality), but still A FINE COPY, the plates bright and richly impressed, the binding lustrous and with few signs of wear.

This is an attractive edition of a popular and influential collection of Renaissance love poetry, enhanced with amorous engravings by Rococo masters and beautifully bound by a Belle Epoque Parisian binder. In his brief life, Jan Everaerts, or Johannes Secundus (1511-36) studied law in Paris, served as secretary to a Spanish archbishop, and achieved enduring fame for the neo-Latinist poems he wrote, based on the works of Catullus. Originally published posthumously in 1541, this series of 19 poems exploring the joys of kissing "significantly influenced the development of European love poetry," according to Gray. In his essays, Montaigne noted that he found the "Basia" equally as entertaining as the "Decameron" or Rabelais. The gallant engravings here, showing flirtatious couples of the ancien régime, complement the verses perfectly. These include some of the images Charles Eisen created for the Fermiers-Généraux edition of La Fontaine's "Contes et Nouvelles," considered some of the finest French illustrations of the 18th century. Bryan says that Eisen (1720-78), court painter to Louis XV and drawing master to Madame de Pompadour, had a hand in "almost all the important [illustrated] books published in France in his time." His "exquisite plates [are] engraved with a light point and with striking originality." He "took his inspirations direct from nature, but add[ed] something of the ideal, after the manner of Watteau and Boucher." The elegant binding was created by the Taffin workshop in Paris, the upscale hand-bindery operated by Lille publishers and trade binders Taffin-Lefort. Flety notes that Taffin took over the rue de Savoie workshop of E. Rouselle in 1895 and, after a move to new premises following the First World War, the bindery continued to operate until 1954.

Price: $1,750.00