French Decorative Bookbinding - Eighteenth Century

click on the link below to see an enlargement

Paris: Chez la Veuve Mazieres, & Jean-Baptiste Garnier, 1745

(click here to see an enlargement)
< STUNNING CONTEMPORARY BURGUNDY MOROCCO, SUMPTUOUSLY GILT, 197 x 127 mm. (7 3/4 x 5)." 1 p.l., xxxvi, 729, [3] pp. The covers with an all-over retrospective fanfare style strapwork design with pointillé floral curls inside many densely gilt curvilinear compartments, and with oval centerpiece INCORPORATING THE ARMS OF MARIE-THÉRÈSE-ANTOINETTE-RAPHAËLE (Olivier 2525), raised bands, spine gilt in compartments with decoration similar to that on the covers and with a fleur-de-lis medallion centerpiece, gilt and painted floral pastedowns, all edges gilt (tips of upper corners perhaps with very skillful repairs). Woodcut decorated title page, decorative initials, and three engraved plates by J. B. Scotin. Verso of title page with early ink inscription, souvenir de mon père veneré Jean Emile Dubois de Nicemont[?]. Front endpaper with morocco bookplate of Hans Furstenberg. Text printed in French and Latin in parallel columns. Bands a bit rubbed where they intersect with the joints (very small loss of leather in two places), edges slightly scuffed, one leaf torn at foot through three lines (no loss of text), title page somewhat foxed, isolated minor foxing elsewhere, a dozen leaves with trivial stains or soiling, but AN EXCEPTIONALLY APPEALING COPY, the leaves always fresh and almost entirely bright and clean, and the very splendid binding sound, with no significant wear, and immensely satisfying in general.

"This copy is distinguished by its provenance. As the arms on the covers indicate, the volume was bound originally for Marie-Thérèse-Antoinette-Raphaële, infanta of Spain (1726-46), the daughter of Philip V and his second wife, Elisabeth Farnese. She married Louis Dauphin of France (1729-65) in 1745 but died in childbirth the following year. Because she was Madame la Dauphine for a very short period of time, bindings made for her with the arms seen here are extremely rare. Hans Furstenberg (1890-1982) put together one of the finest collections of 18th century French books ever assembled, and in 1929 he published Das Franzosische Buch im Achtzehnten Jahrhundert und in der Empirezeit, a brilliant survey of the field intended to serve as an introduction to a catalogue of his collection. Although the catalogue never appeared, there was a major exhibition drawn from the riches of his collection in 1965. The discrimination that went into his selection of books is evident here in the design of the elegant and animated binding and the quality of its execution as well as in the volume's excellent state of preservation. In 1974, the F¸rstenberg collection was sold en bloc to Dr. Otto Schafer, whose marvelous library had already become distinguished for its collection of fine and historic bindings. From that collection, 219 items were chosen for the very impressive 1992 Europaische Einbandkunst aus Sechs Jahrhunderten, a catalogue of particularly fine and important bindings; the present item appears in that catalogue as item #110.

Click on this link to return to Eighteenth Century Plaques - Mazieres OSS Model

Click on this link to visit Virtual Bookbinding

Click on the link below to search for bookbindings in

The British Library Database of Bookbindings

Go to Digital Alchemy return to the home page of