(Coloniae [Cologne]; Ultraiecti [Utrecht]: Crispiani Passaei, ; 1613). 197 x 150 mm. (7 3/4 x 6"). 4 p.l., 100 numbered plates; 14 p.l., 100 numbered plates. Two separately published works bound in one volume. FIRST EDITIONS.
Very attractive period-style black morocco, gilt, by Courtland Benson, covers with frames of gilt fillets and scalloped roll, central sunburst, floral cornerpieces and side accents, raised bands, spine compartments divided into four triangles by diagonal lines, two of the triangles with an acorn, two with a tulip, red morocco label, marbled endpapers, all edges gilt. In a maroon cloth drop-back box. Two engraved titles, two engraved portraits of the author, and 200 FINE AND OFTEN CHARMING ENGRAVED EMBLEMATIC PLATES BY CRISPIN VAN DE PASS THE ELDER. The second work with text in French and Latin. Landwehr 690, 692; Praz, pp. 476-77; Hofer 118; Vinet 863 ("belles gravures"); Berlin Catalogue 4534; Graesse VI, 150; Brunet IV, 1359 ("sought after for its fine illustrations"). Leaves lightly washed and pressed, a couple of leaves a little browned, isolated trivial stains or tiny rust spots, but A VERY FINE COPY, clean and fresh internally, WITH EXCELLENT IMPRESSIONS OF THE ENGRAVINGS, in an unworn sympathetic binding.
This is a lovely book, offering 200 beautiful engravings featuring a range of the mystical, the allegorical, and the realistic as represented by figures in contemporaneous costume and social contexts. As Moseley says, the emblems here are "magnificently executed" and offer "a fine example of integrated design." Not only are the engravings themselves composed with skill and cut with great precision, but the design of the page is both innovative and no doubt successful at achieving what the designer had intended: the "inscriptio," or motto that is meant to resonate in the reader's mind after contemplating the image, is presented here, not above the illustration, but within a collar surrounding the circular cut. And since the letters in the motto are widely spaced, and some are by necessity upside down, the reading of the motto takes a special effort of concentration, a fact that would seem to work to bring home with greater force the precept in question and perhaps the image inside the collar as well. Van de Pass (ca. 1560 - ca. 1643) is called "an eminent draughtsman and engraver" by Bryan, who notes that the artist's smaller designs, like the ones seen here, represent his best work. Although the two books contained in the present volume were issued separately, it is clear from the title of the second--announcing a second "century of emblems"--that the two are meant to be companion publications. The works are rare in institutional libraries (OCLC locates eight copies of the first and 10 of the second in North American libraries), and they are infrequently seen for sale. Although the present volume appears to have been subjected to the typical fashionable treatment of other early books rebound in the 19th century (the titles seem to have been washed, and it is likely that the other leaves have been pressed), the paper here generally retains its texture, and there is absolutely no loss of richness in the engravings. (ST16379-053)
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PJP Catalog: BibWk21.028