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Imprimerie de Monsieur [i.e., Pierre-François Didot], Paris 1785 - In a Fine Staggemeier and Welcher Binding, With a Very Large, Early, Edwards(?) Painting. 340 x 264 mm. mm (13 3/8 x 10 3/8"). 4 p.l., 305, [1] pp.; 2 p.l., 297, [3] pp. Two volumes bound in one. ELEGANT RED CONTEMPORARY STRAIGHT-GRAIN MOROCCO, BY STAGGEMEIER & WELCHER, the covers with a wide gilt border composed of onlaid strips of blue goatskin tooled with a Greek-key roll, with a square green goatskin onlay at the corners tooled with a medallion, and with an inner frame composed of an onlaid citron goatskin band and large, graceful gilt impressions of flowers, foliage, and ears of wheat. Smooth spine divided into four unequal compartments by a strip of onlaid green goatskin tooled with a gilt pentaglyph and metope roll, lettered in the second compartment on a green goatskin label, and directly on the spine at the foot, the first compartment tooled with a face-in-the-sun, the third (elongated) compartment featuring a strange figure with a winged helmet holding festoons of flowers, balancing on top of a flower issuing from a large neoclassical vase, the vase in turn perched on a candelabrum, the edges of the boards and turn-ins tooled with gilt rolls, marbled endpapers, all edges gilt. WITH A FORE-EDGE PAINTING, VERY PROBABLY CONTEMPORARY, OF TWO BOATS SAILING ON A LAKE, WITH A STATELY HOME IN THE BACKGROUND. With engraved printer's device on title pages and two frontispiece portraits of the author engraved by Dequevauviller, one in an early state before letters, and one printed on India paper and mounted. Brunet II, 1215. A hint of wear to corners, spine a little darkened, slight variation in color of the leather covers, other minor defects, but the extremely handsome binding entirely solid, with nothing approaching a significant fault, and the covers especially lustrous with bright gilt. Intermittent pale foxing in the text (a few gatherings with faint overall browning or more noticeably foxed), but the leaves remarkably fresh (they crackle as you turn them), very clean, and printed within vast margins. Fénelon's masterwork is presented here in a sumptuous package in terms of its beautiful binding, its historically interesting fore-edge painting, and its stately printed page. Like Kalthoeber and several other German binders, Staggemeier and Welcher came to England to satisfy the fashionable need among gentry and nobility for elegant bindings. In partnership in London from about 1799 to 1810, the two oversaw "one of the most prolific workshops producing 'extra' quality work in London." (Maggs Catalogue 1212) They were known for bindings with typically tasteful and often elaborate gilt decoration, and they were among the very best at producing these highly finished volumes. Our binding is unsigned, but many of the same tools can be found on signed and related examples, the face-in-the-sun being a particular favorite. The large scroll tools around the inside of the border were used on a copy of "The Memoirs of Count Grammont" (1794) from the collection of Otto Schäfer, (sold Sotheby's New York, 1 November 1995, lot 111) and on Birch, "The Heads of Illustrious Persons" (1756), illustrated in Foot, "The Henry Davis Gift," II, 198. The scrolls also appear on two vellum bindings, along with the strange figure on the spine, one being on a copy of "Campi Phlegræi" (1779) from the J.R. Abbey collection (sold Sotheby's, 22 June 1965, lot 368), and secondly on an album of drawings from the Estelle Doheny collection (sold Christie's New York, 18 October 1988, lot 1596). This style of binding, and especially the treatment of the covers with the colored onlays and scroll and wheat tools, had a far-reaching influence and was closely followed by binders such as Krauss in Vienna and Zaidler in St. Petersburg. Another copy of this edition of Télémaque, said to be bound by Staggemeier and Welcher in blue goatskin and with a fore-edge painting of a chateau, was in the Doheny collection and was sold on 17 October 1988 as lot 1320. The size of th [Attributes: Hard Cover]
      [Bookseller: Phillip J. Pirages Rare Books (ABAA)]
Last Found On: 2013-11-29           Check availability:      AbeBooks    


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