COMPLETE SUITE OF ENGRAVINGS FROM "LITANIAE LAURETANAE AD BEATAE VIRGINIS."
([Augsburg: Johannes Baptist Burckhart, 1758]). 191 x 132 mm. (7 1/2 x 5 1/4").  leaves. Second Edition in Latin.
ORNATE CONTEMPORARY TAN CALF, INLAID AND GILT, covers with gilt frame of large volutes and small stars enclosing a central panel of terra-cotta-colored calf with decorative compartments of citron calf tooled with either a diapered pattern of stars or a pair of birds, centerpiece of marbled calf, many gilt and painted floral and geometrical ornaments and sprinklings of gilt stars, raised bands, spine gilt in compartments with central rosette enclosed by volutes, floral paste-paper endpapers, all edges gilt. IN THE ORIGINAL PULL-OFF CASE of marbled calf (small portions of the case torn away). WITH 57 BEAUTIFUL ENGRAVINGS (frontispiece and 56 numbered plates) of the Litany of Loreto, all mounted on high-quality paper. Verso of front flyleaf with ink inscription of the title of the work in Italian. Peter Stoll, "Empire of Prints: The Imperial City of Augsburg and the Printed Image in the Seventeenth and Eighteenth Centuries" (Augsburg, 2016). Extremities faintly rubbed, leaves a little wavy (from glue used to affix the engravings), isolated trivial rust spots or smudges to plates but A VERY FINE COPY, the illustrations clean and fresh, the binding extraordinarily unworn, thanks to its protective box.
This is a beautifully bound and exceptionally well-preserved devotional book with a litany of prayers to the Blessed Virgin Mary and richly symbolic emblems intended to inspire contemplation. First used ca. 1558 at the Shrine of Our Lady in Loreto, and approved by Pope Sixtus V in 1587, the litany addresses Mary in her attributes of Mother (10 emblems), Virgin (six emblems), and Queen (eight emblems), and in her capacity as Refuge of Sinners, Seat of Wisdom, and Comforter of the Afflicted, among others. The intricate engravings by Joseph Sebastian Klauber (1710-68) and his brother Johann Baptist (1712-87) of Augsburg from designs by Gottfried Bernhard Göz (1708-74) have more than enough allegorical and symbolic elements to inspire hours of study. In "Mater Inviolata," for example, Mary stands atop a crescent moon, the monogram of Christ emblazoned on her chest, the full moon and a circle of stars functioning as a halo. A ring set with the signs of the Zodiac hovers over her, and the dove of the Holy Spirit flutters above her shoulder, emanating a bright ray that reflects off a mirror held by a putto and lights a candle set at the Virgin's feet. To the modern eye, the compositions are almost Surrealistic, but their allegorical and biblical references would be rife with meaning for a contemporaneous reader. In his study of Augsburg printers, "Empire of Prints," Peter Stoll tells us that "the workshop of Joseph Sebastian and Johann Baptist Klauber is often looked upon as an epitome of Augsburg, eighteenth-century print art." The Klaubers were devout Catholics in a Protestant city, and proudly advertised this fact to potential patrons. According to Stoll, "in a city whose print business had long been dominated by Protestants and where it had been a matter of course to assign Catholic subjects to Protestant engravers, the Klaubers' public emphasis on their denomination can only mean that they wanted to entice Catholic patrons away from Protestant engravers by implying that now, in the middle of the eighteenth century, Catholics at last no longer needed to turn to heretics for prints." Possibly Italian in origin, based on design elements and the inscription in that language at the beginning of the book, our elaborately decorated Rococo binding is nothing short of exquisite, and has been well protected over the years by its original sturdy pull-off case. (ST18166)