(Paris: Jacques Kerver, 1578). 355 x 245 mm. (14 x 9 1/2"). 34 p.l., 234, 43 leaves, 19,  pp.
MAGNIFICENT CONTEMPORARY CALF, ELABORATELY GILT À LA FANFARE, BY THE DOREUR À LA PREMIÈRE PALMETTE, covers densely gilt with intricately interlacing strapwork, emanating from a central oval containing a laurel wreath, to form oval, lobed, or rectangular compartments connected by circles and cruciform ornaments, these enclosures filled with small tools, the spaces between the strapwork compartments filled with sweeps of olive branches and spirals of flowering vines, smooth spine similarly decorated, all edges gilt (apparently, we are told, with discreet restorations to very top of joints and corners, but, if true, then performed with remarkable facility). In a (slightly worn) custom green morocco box designed to look like a book. Title page with woodcut of Sts. Peter and Paul, printer's unicorn device on final page, numerous three- to eight-line historiated initials, 260 small woodcut vignettes, and three full-page (or nearly so) woodcut scenes. Final leaf with neat removal of small marginal note (perhaps of ownership). Front pastedown with Art Deco-style ex-libris of Lucien Dhuys (engraved by Kupka) and engraved bookplate of Maurice Burrus. Weale Bohatta 1218; USTC 170453. For the binding: Hobson 1970, p. 27 (fig. 17), 28 (fig. 26) and p. 59-61 (fig. 49b). A couple of small, faintly darkened spots on rear board, text very lightly and uniformly toned throughout, other minor imperfections (only) internally. A compelling copy, THE ARRESTING BINDING LUSTROUS, SCARCELY WORN, AND GLITTERING WITH GOLD.
This is a breathtakingly complex fanfare binding that can be confidently attributed to a gilder Hobson describes as "the most considerable among the royal group." Dubbed the Doreur à la Première Palmette (Gilder of the First Palmette) for one of his distinctive tools (Hobson fig. 26, p. 28), this binder was active in Paris from 1560-87, and was one of the few gilders capable of producing designs as intricate as that seen here. In addition to the signature palmette tool that appears at the outer corners of our boards, our binding incorporates another tool used only by the Doreur à la Première Palmette, a round strapwork compartment topped with a feather-like flourish (Hobson fig. 49b). This is used on the sides of the cover frame here and on Hobson binding 55a (Plate XX), a binding done by our gilder for J.-A. de Thou that bears a more than passing resemblance to our "Missale." Hobson lists 44 bindings attributable to this gilder. Whereas the majority of fanfare bindings appear on smaller books, our tall volume provided an especially large canvas for First Palmette's inventiveness, resulting in an exceptionally rich creation. Printed by a leading Parisian workshop, the large Missal within these stately covers was no doubt used to celebrate Mass in some equally elegant setting, whether a wealthy diocesan seat or the private chapel of a noble family. It is certain that our volume was more recently in the renowned collection of Maurice Burrus (1882-1959), an Alsatian tobacco magnate and distinguished philatelist who amassed an impressive library of outstanding bindings. (ST17853)