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2018-12-12 09:58:19
Zurich: Chez l'auteur, 1777. First French Quarto Edition. This is a desirable copy of an important late 18th century French illustrated book, a happy marriage of fashionable poetry and beautiful engravings, in a binding that carefully imitates the Neoclassical designs and tools of master binder Christian Kalthoeber. Gessner (1730-88) was a painter and poet from Zurich, who hoped to renew the ancient genre of the eclogue. According to Britannica, he was "the most successful and typical representative of a literary rococo movement. His pastorals were translated into 20 languages, including Welsh, Latin, and Hebrew." He was also an equally talented artist, and the preface to this book is quick to note that all the etchings are of his own imagination and executed by his own hand. Gessner's close attention to detail and liberal use of dense crosshatching give each plate an intensity that is almost tactile, with the pale figures in high relief against the deeply etched, dark backgrounds. The binding is an excellent imitation of the work of German émigré binder Christian Kalthoeber, "considered during his day to be the finest binder in the world," according to Maggs Catalogue 966. One of Kalthoeber's most recognizable designs, used on at least seven bindings, employed a roll-tool border enclosing a central panel with garlands and pateras across the top, palmettes along the sides, and at the foot, two mermaids with curling tails flanking an urn. Examples of this can be seen in the sources cited above. Here, the mermaids are thicker and less refined in form, and the t … [Click Below for Full Description]
Bookseller: Phillip J. Pirages Fine Books and Medieval Manuscripts [US]
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