Paris: Librairie de A. Morel et Cie. 1864-1865-1866. First trade edition. Hardcover. Quarto (10 x 6 1/2") (Text volumes); Folio (12 1/2 x 10 1/2") (Plate volumes). , xx, 523, pp (Vol. 1); , 613, pp (Vol. 2); , 718pp (Vol. 3); , 825, pp (Vol. 4) (Text Volumes); pp (Text), lxxvi (76) double leaves (Plates), pp (Table of plates) (Vol. 1); pp (Text), lxxvii-cxlviii (77-148) double leaves (Plates), pp (Table of Plates) (Vol. 2) (Plate Volumes). Contemporary half calf over marbled paper covered boards, with gold lettering and ruling to spines. Raised bands. Marbled endpapers. Half-titles and title pages in red and black lettering. Publisher's engraved vignette to each title. Engraved head- and tailpieces.
First edition of Jules Labarte's monumental history of the Industrial arts, from the Middle Ages to the epoch of the Renaissance.
The two atlas volumes splendidly reproduce in chromolithography (often overprinted in gold) a wide variety of objects including jewelry, bejeweled metal medieval bindings, reliques, icons, illuminated manuscript leaves, stained glass, enamels, ceramics, and porcelain pieces.
Labarte's "Histoire des Arts Industriels" was first published in 1864-1866, in four volumes of text with two volumes of plates, then reprinted in 1872-1875, in a three-volume version, less expensive, no longer intended for amateurs and scholars, but rather to the artists. Aimed at a variety of audiences, this work presents a hybrid character in its articulation: the "industrial" arts, whose author never gives a definition, are sometimes so called for the raw material they use (ivory, wood), sometimes for the technique (enameling, stained glass) or based. on the function of their products (armor, furniture). The "Histoire" thus reflects the ambiguous status of works of art in the second half of the 19th century, when they were alternately called to serve as models for artists, objects of aesthetic pleasure for amateurs, documents on life and morals for historians and archaeologists.
Despite these limitations in design, this work remained for decades the fundamental reference for all research on the precious arts. Its success is due to several reasons. The objective displayed by Labarte was to write "a history of the industrial arts by monuments," seeking to define the origin, development and processes of each technique. The broad and direct knowledge of the works examined combined with a perfect mastery of the written sources, not only of those published, but also, often, of documents or unpublished texts of capital importance (inventories of Boniface VIII or Charles VI, transcriptions of lost Florentine accounts by Senator Carlo Strozzi in the 17th century...). The understanding of the texts was thus enlightened by the analysis of the works and vice versa, as it is for example the case when Labarte uses the treatise "De diversis artibus" written by the monk Théophile (12th century) to describe the manufacture of cloisonné enamels.
Splendidly illustrated with 150 plates reproduced in chromolithography, lithography and lithophotography (including the two titles of the plate volumes). A limited first edition of 100 numbered copies on large paper was published in 1864. Our edition, published between 1864 and 1866 is the first trade edition.
Some rubbing along edges and spines. Text in French. Bindings in overall good- to good, interior in very good condition. g- to vg. Item #43954