“La plus considérable des publications du règne de Louis XIV” (Louis Réau)


Charles PERRAULT: LES HOMMES ILLUSTRES (…) 2 vol. With 107 copper engravings. Paris: 1696/1700

Charles PERRAULT: LES HOMMES ILLUSTRES QUI ONT PARU EN FRANCE PENDANT CE SIÈCLE. Avec leurs portraits au naturel. 2 volumes. With 107 copper engravings, of which 104 plates, showing an allegoric frontispiece (after Bonet) and 103 portraits engraved by Gérard Edelinck, Jacques Lubin et al., incorporating captions and in parts armorials, as well as publisher’s device (repeated). Paris: Antoine Dezallier 1696 and 1700.

Crown Folio (39:27 cm (binding), 38:26 cm (block) [8 not numb. leafs (index, front., title page, portrait of Perrault, preface)], [51 not numb. plates, p. 1-102; [2 not numb. leafs (title page, preface)], [50+2 (suppl.) not numb. plates], p. 1-102. Fully grained mid 19th century morocco over cardboard, thread-stitched on 5 raised bands, boards with gilt stamped filets, spines with ornamental gilt stamped title printing, red cut on all sides and multicolour marbled end papers.

Well preserved copy of the 1st printing of this Who’s Who of 17th century France, edited by Charles Perrault, an influential figure in the 17th-century French literary scene and leader of the „Moderns“ during their quarrel against the „Ancients“.

Contents, Illustration: All personalities are pictured with precise engravings by Gérard Edelinck, Jacques Lubin et al. after drawings and paintings by a number or artists. Starting with the omnipotent Cardinal Richelieu, there are to be found e.g. Colbert, Corneille, Descartes, Molière and Racine, as well as Blaise Pascal. His and D’Arnaulds portraits, due to censorship lacking in later print-runs, are well conserved in this copy of the 1st, as well as the engravings of their substitutes Thomassin and Du Fresne, bound in without the correspondent texts as supplements of vol. 2.

Condition: Corners and margins of binding in parts worn, boards minimally scratched, inside in parts slightly finger-stained and minimally foxy, otherwise well preserved copy of this illustrious print on high quality mould paper. Former owner’s („FvH“) little stamp on frontispiece and title pages.

Provenance: Eduard Böcking, renown German liberal historian and jurist, with his engraved and dated („1848“) bookplate tipped-on front board verso of vol. 1. Böcking also contributed the hand-written index which a total of 105 names, mentioning also Charles de La Porte and Maximilien de Béthune that are actually not included.

Reference: Calot, L’Art du livre en France, 110; Lipperheide Fb25; Rahir, La Bibliothèque de l’amateur, 579.