Félibien (des Avaux), (André)

Des principes de l’architecture, de la sculpture, de la peinture, et des autres arts qui en dépendent. Avec un dictionnaire des termes propres à chacun de ces arts.

Paris, Jean Baptiste Coignard 1676.

Reference: 07852
Price: £1 [convert currency]

Full Description

4to. (22) + (795) + (1) pp, including 65 full-page engraved illustrations in text. Early eighteenth century gilt-panelled full red morocco, gilt spine, all edges gilt, with Cupid device of the contemporary Danish book collector Frederik Walter (1649-1718) in centre of upper and lower covers, and later gilt -stamped ownership inscription of P.Hagen on upper cover. Sides of binding rather worn, and scratch marks across areas of upper cover. Old dampstains affecting first eight pages and eleven subsequent signatures (pp 11-40, 129-144, 265-280, 305-312, 337-344, 353-376), in addition to stains on a few individual leaves elsewhere in the earlier part of the volume. Three later signatures (pp 569-576, 617-632) slightly browned owing to nature of paper stock. Initial letter W in ink at lower right hand corner of title leaf, confirming the fact that the copy belonged to Frederik Walter. Late eighteenth century or early nineteenth century ink ownership inscriptions of Hans Peter Henckel on pp. 41 and 795, and his ink initials at upper margins of pp. 244 and 415.

First edition (three further editions, essentially unchanged in content, appeared in the 1690s). Félibien, who then held official appointments as Secretary of the Académie Royale d’Architecture and historiographer of the Bâtimens du Roi, intended this as an introduction to the principles, techniques and vocabulary of the fine and applied arts, and he arranges his material into three separate sections dealing respectively with architecture, sculpture and painting. followed by a dictionary of terms. The first 296 pages are devoted to architecture, as are the first 46 of the engraved illustrations (which are an unexpectedly good source of information on the tools employed in the French building trade). The architecture section and the listing of architectural terms in the accompanying dictionary are of particular authority, for Félibien records in his preface that before publishing his book he had read the whole of it to meetings of the Académie Royale d’Architecture ; the Académie’s published proceedings show that these readings took place between September 1674 and February 1676, and during this period Félibien was able to revise his text in the light of advice and criticism from the Académie’s small but select membership (including at this time François Blondel, Libéral Bruand, François d’Orbay and Antoine Le Pautre). Although the present copy is intermittently stained internally, and is in a binding which although in red morocco is today somewhat worn, it is of some importance as a surviving book from the library of Frederik Walter (1649-1718), Master of Ceremonies at the court of King Frederik IV of Denmark. In our catalogue 42, item 29, we listed and illustrated a copy of Vincenzo Cartari’s Le Imagine de i Dei de gli Antichi, 1587, in a handsome red morocco binding identical in character to the present one except that the corner ornaments at each corner of the inner panels on the covers were from a different tool, but we were not then able to identify either the country where the binding was produced or the book collector for whom the binding was done. As we have now discovered, books bound for Frederik Walter, distinguishable by the presence of his device of a winged cupid in the centre of their upper and lower covers, and by the fact that they are usually bound in red morocco, are much sought after, both on account of the nature of the binding s themselves and because they form one of the few groups of books securely identifiable as having been bound for a private Danish book collector active around 1700. Our previous book from Walter’s library, that by Cartari, survived as part of the library formed by Lord Polwarth (afterwards 2nd Earl of Marchmont), who served as British Ambassador to Denmark between 1715 and 1721, while the present one has evidently passed through the hands of various subsequent Danish book collectors, commencing with an individual named P. Hagen who had his own name added in gilt letters above Walter’s Cupid device. BAL Cat. 1036 ; Fowler Cat 118.

Leave a comment