Important work for the history of architecture in Brabant, 1757

DELICES DU BRABANT ET DE SES CAMPAGNES, ou Description des Villes, Bourgs & principales Terrès Seigneuriales de ce Duché. 4 volumes. With 186 (of most probably 191) folded copper engraved plates. Amsterdam: 1757.

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[Mr. de CANTILLON (attributed)]: DELICES DU BRABANT ET DE SES CAMPAGNES, ou Description des Villes, Bourgs & principales Terrès Seigneuriales de ce Duché; Accompagnée des Evenemens les plus remarquables jusqu'au tems présent. 4 volumes. With 186 (of most probably 191) folded copper engraved plates, as well as 4 engraved printer's devices on the title pages. Amsterdam: Jean Neaulme 1757. 8to. [8 (pre-title, engraved title, preface)], 184 p., 18 pl.; [4 (pre-title, engraved title)], 165 [1] p., 73 pl.; [4 (pre-title, engraved title)], 125 [1] p., 73 pl.; [4 (pre-title, engraved title)], 64 [12 (alphabetical list of locations). Contemporary full mottled leather binding on 5 waste bands with gilt embossed ornamental title on spine incorporating floral themes, end papers made of red paste paper and green coloured cut throughout.

First edition of this heavily illustrated and important work for the history of architecture in the historical Duchy of Brabant with it's 4 parts around the capitals Leuven, Brussels, Antwerp and 's-Hertogenbosch. „Les »Délices du Brabant« parcourent le Duché éponyme, en suivant l’organisation administrative de la province: d’abord le quartier de Louvain (1er volume), puis celui de Bruxelles (2e volume), d’Anvers (3e volume) et de Bois-le-Duc (4e volume). (…) L’auteur dresse l’historique de la principauté, poursuit avec une liste chronologique des Ducs de Brabant – et plus loin des listes de hauts dignitaires de la principauté et des villes importantes, du Moyen-Âge au milieu du 18e siècle, et offre une description topographique et ethnographique de la région: histoire, grands hommes, lieux remarquables, villes après villes, bourgs après bourgs, châteaux après châteaux (une rubrique particulière porte sur les châteaux et terres seigneuriales). L’histoire est tout autant civile qu’ecclésiastique, et le rôle des maisons religieuses n’est pas négligé.“ (Parmentier).

The title mistakenly states Richard Cantillon, an Irish-French economical and political writer, as the author. However experts claim this to be a „bookseller's speculation“ (Jevons).

Most remarkably this work is enriched by „200 très belles figures en taille douce“ („200 very beautiful engraved illustrations“, as the title pages point out). The plates include plans, panoramic views, castles and country seats with gardens, churches, 5 of them show numerous armorial emblems of noble families of the region (in vol. III and IV). Additionally most of the plates depicting buildings also include the coat of arms of their proprietors. Many of the illustrations are signed in the plate, mostly by G. De Bruijn and J. van Croes (drawers) and J. Harrewyn, and Robert Whitehand (engravers). This indicates that they are smaller copies of the originals engraved for Jacob Le Roy's »Castella et Praetoria Nobilium Brabantiae« (1696).

All available sources for traceable copies quote a maximum of 191 plates, e.g. the auction results at Drouot and APO, as well as different institutional holdings. This copy lacks the following 5 plates: Castle of Pieterbais (vol. I, for p. 178, no. 1), „La cour de Brusselle“ (II, 24), castle of Beaulieu (II, 165), Castle of Hese (IV, 57, no. 1) and one more.

Bindings in parts wormy, edges and corners bumped, boards slightly worn, a few pages and plates with slightly visible margins from water-stains, otherwise well preserved set with fresh engravings.

Provenance: Rudolph Graf von Abensberg-Traun (1872-1954), member of an Austrian noble family, with his engraved ex-libris incorporating the family's coat of arms on every front endpaper.

Isabelle Parmentier: Délices du Brabant (…). Université de Namu, Département d’histoire (PolleN), (mars 2015). URL: http://neptun.unamur.be/items/show/21#contenu2 (5.5.2018); Stanley Jevons: Richard Cantillon and the Nationality of Political Economy. In: The Contemporary Review, Vol. XXXIX, January/June 1881, p. 61-80.

Additional information

Weight 4 kg