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MONCRIF, François Augustin Paradis de. [1687-1770].

Les Chats.

      Paris 1727 - A Paris, chez Gabriel-Francois Quillau, 1727. First Edition, Octavo. [2], 204, [16] pp. With woodcut vignettes on title and errata [the vignette was meant to be included in the text], large folding genealogical table of an Asian cat, and 9 full-page engraved plates (of which 2 are folding) illustrating cats, engraved by the Comte de Gaylus after drawings by Coypel. Contemporary French calf, five raised bands on spine, title-label on red goatskin to the second compartment, the others with dense floral gilt tooling. Worn at corners with splits to joints, fine internally and with two very interesting provenances: 1. contemporary signature of Jacques Malquis Le Quin dated 1750, an accomplished silver and goldsmith, Paris, maitre from 1748 - his work may be seen at the Louvre; and 2. with the bookplate of Anatole de Courde de Montaiglon [1824-1890], noted bibliophile, librarian and historian of the 19th century, author of some 700 titles on the history of art and literature. Cohen-De Ricci 721. The author was a distinguished Scottish-French scholar and close friend of Voltaire. The present item, a parody of pedantic scholarship gained him entry to the Académie française. On his induction a cat was released into the room to the amusement of all. Much of the text is in the form of letters to a lady, but there are love letters between cats and a letter written by a cat to a dog; with poetry, and a one-act Tragedy starring Grisette and her feline suitors. The nine charming plates of cats were drawn by Charles Coypel and engraved by the Comte de Caylus; also with the large folding genealogical chart of a legendary early noble cat 'Brinbelle'. One of the engravings depicts a cat on the deathbed of his mistress; at her bedside two attorneys are making out her last will and testament in favor of the cat. There is also an Italian-language inscription, and a note from a previous owner: "This little book was found in a book stall in Paris in 1926. In passing years these serene and imperial majesties have often come at the needful moment and helped me to escape."

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Last Found On: 2012-05-30          Check current availability from:     AbeBooks


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