Eric Chaim Kline, Bookseller

Eric Chaim Kline, Bookseller

Recueil de plus illustres proverbes, divises en trois livres, le premier contient les proverbes moraux, le second les proverbes joyeux et plaisans, le troisiesme represente la vie des gueux en proverbes mis en lumiere (A Collection of the Most Famous Proverbs, Divided into Three Books, the First Contains Moral Proverbs, the Second, Joyous and Pleasant Proverbs, the Third Presents the Life of Beggars Highlighted in Proverbs)

Paris: [Chez Jacques Lagniet], 1657-1663. First Edition. Three parts, quarto (10-1/8 by 7-1/2 in.). 114 (of, perhaps, 165) copperplate engravings, depicting allegorical and satirical tableaux. Engraved general title (numbered 1), serving as title for the first part; latter parts with separate engraved titles. Some plates read: "I. Lagniet exc[udit], "some others note the location of the firm, and a few bear initials of engravers. A definitive count of plates published in the set has never been determined, and collections cited by bibliographic authorities vary. Plate 15, part 2, dated 1657. Later half leather over textured cloth. Blanks bound in to note missing plates in sequence (see inventory below). Several leaves in the first part skilfully remargined at fore-edge (no loss). Occasional light smudges and stains. A very good set.

Notably large collection of cooperplate illustrations by the engraver, caricaturist, and editor, Jacques Lagniet (1620-1672), comprising one of the most popular suites of prints in the history of the genre. Few large collections of Lagniet's Proverbs have been assembled and bound together, and all contain somewhat mixed and incomplete assortments of the approximately 165 plates in the complete series. Unnumbered plates of uncertain origin are sometimes included, as we see in the present collection, bound after the second part, "Le tableau et la vie exemplaire de ces deux amys," in which two friends fart into a lit candle. (Plus ça change...). An extraordinary imaginative and documentary achievement, Lagniet immerses us in the ups and downs of daily life, set against the background of omnipresent scourges: plague, war, and famine. Not only do we see an important period of history pass before us, captured in more intimate details than the somewhat pompous prints of Abraham Bosse, but we can also follow by means of these drolleries and pranks the development of the study of manners. ("Non seulement, on voit défiler devant soi une importante période de l'histoire, prise dans des détails plus intimes ques pare les estampes toujours un peu pompeuses d'Abraham Bosse, mais encore on peut suivre au moyen de ces drôleries et facéties le développement de l'étude de moeurs" -- John Grand-Carteret, Le Moeurs et la caricature en France). The vivid imagery of Lagniet's highly idiosyncratic vision, is balanced by a rich text woven together from proverbs, maxims, and popular (often course) expressions. This resulting multi-media extravaganza evokes a very specific time and place, with a rare depth and sensitivity to the full range of human emotions and motivations. With caustic verve, bourgeois and nobles are mocked. A whole gallery of grotesque types and buffoons are on display, not infrequently involving the more sordid and comic aspects of sexuality. Many of the subjects will fascinate the student of gastronomy, and delight those interested in antique trades -- blacksmiths, hosiers, glaziers, strolling musicians, turners and carters abount -- along with their settings in the interiors of shops or private homes.

Provenance and annotations: The copy of Sir William Stirling Maxwell, with his arms tooled in blind at the front board, and his large bookplate at verso. Long bibliographic note neatly written and professionally tipped onto blanks bound before the first title. One plate with a touch of old blue tinting. Contemporary Latin inscription at plate 9, first part: Similis simili gaudet (Like rejoices in like).

Sir William Stirling Maxwell, ninth baronet (1818–1878), was a noted art historian, historian, and book collector. After succeeding to his father's estates in 1847, Stirling commissioned a young London architect, Alfred Jenoure, to carry out alterations to Keir House. "The ambitious scheme transformed the neo-classical pile into an idiosyncratic expression of Stirling's tastes and interests. 'At the centre was his magnificent two-storey library, lined in cedar, with specially designed furniture and fittings. Dr Waagen found it 'too remarkable a room not to be mentioned' and noted that every surface was carved with mottoes, 'the study of which would occupy an ordinary length of life very profitably' (Waagen, 453). The books were beautifully bound and embossed with Stirling's armorial devices, and he himself designed the ex libris slips [as in the present volume] which incorporated his mottoes, such as Gang Forward and Poco a Poco." Among his many published works is An Essay Towards a Collection of Books Relating to Proverbs, Emblems, Apophthegms, Epitaphs and Ana (1860). "The obsessive nature of his collecting was exemplified by his large accumulation of emblem books, now in Glasgow University Library, which numbered around 1200. It was probably the largest collection ever amassed and its owner was one of the most important figures in the nineteenth-century revival of interest in emblems." (ODNB). Item #53369

References: Brunet III, cols. 767-768; Catalogue Destailleur, no. 325; Larousse, Grand dict. XIXe siècle, vol. X, p. 68; Macartney, Hilary, "Maxwell, Sir William Stirling" [in:] ODNB. Michaud, vol. XXII, pp. 518-519; NBG, vol. XXVIII, cols. 824-825; Rahir, Bibl. de l'amateur, 590.

Plate Inventory:
Part 1: 1-18; 20-22; 24-33; 35-50 (= 47 plates)
Part 2: 1-6; 8-18; 20-29; 31-34; 36-42 (= 37 plates)
Extra without number: "Le tableau et la vie exemplaire de ces deux amys"
Part 3: 1-16; 18-30 (= 29 plates).

Price: $25,000.00

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