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ROMANCES
Paris: De l'Imprimerie de Monseiur, 1788. Hardcover. 140 x 89 mm (5 1/2 x 3 1/2"). 3 p.l., 3-73 pp., [3] leaves (lacking 18 leaves of music sometimes found at the end). Excellent contemporary crimson polished morocco, covers gilt with double rule border and roundel cornerpieces, flat spine in gilt compartments featuring decorative metope bands, stippled diagonal line at corners, and small diamond centerpiece, two dark green morocco labels, turn-ins gilt with festoon roll, all edges gilt. Woodcut decorated title page, and 10 FINE PLATES AFTER BOREL, engraved by Dambrun, Delignon, Guttenberg, Hubert, de Longueil, and Petit. Front pastedown with armorial bookplate of Sir David Lionel Salomons. Cohen-de Ricci 142; Lewine, p. 55; Graesse I, 348. A few plates with light marginal foxing, one or two leaves creased, but INTERNALLY AND EXTERNALLY IN VERY FINE CONDITION, the binding especially bright, the text unusually fresh, and with strong impressions of the attractive plates. These "Romances" comprise eight sentimental rhymed ballads on such themes as unhappy love, happy love, and the innocence of childhood. The majority are original creations of the author, but "The Hermit" is translated from the English of Goldsmith, while a Scottish origin is claimed for the first poem, which evokes the lament of a young mother abandoned by her lover. The author, Arnaud Berquin (1749-91), was best known for his children's books, including the popular "L'ami des Enfants," and a translation of the often printed English favorite, "Sandford and Merton." Apart from the lovely binding, the chief pleasure of the present book lies in the illustrations, which depict, in a skilled and frothy Rococo style, the charming and fragile world of the French nobility just before the revolutionary deluge. Our edition marks the first appearance of these endearing plates; previous editions of "Romances" had used illustrations by Marillier. The artist, Antoine Borel (1743-1810), also illustrated historical scenes and was known for his erotica. The imprint used here indicates that our press was under the patronage of "Monsieur," the brother of Louis XVI, who later ruled as Louis XVIII. Books in the library of Sir David Lionel Salomons (1851-1925) were chosen with careful discrimination, with the goal always to obtain copies in very fine condition. The collection was notable particularly for 18th and 19th century illustrated books. Before portions of the library found their way into the marketplace, the books passed into the hands of Salomons' daughter, Vera, the noted bibliographer of French illustrated books, and afterwards to the L. A. Mayer Memorial Institute for Islamic Art in Jerusalem, which had received an endowment from her.
      [Bookseller: Phillip J. Pirages Fine Books and Mediev]
Last Found On: 2013-11-29           Check availability:      Biblio    

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