First issue of one of the most renowned French illustrated book of the 18th century.
Picot, Livres du Baron Rothschild, I, p. 218, No. 409; Bulletin de la Librairie Morgand et Fatout, III, 8976 and 10578.
It's one of the most gallantly illustrated of the whole century. (Cohen, Livres à gravures du XVIIIe siècle, col. 769-772).
"It’s one of the most beautiful illustrated books of the 18th century with a frontispiece, 3 pages of dedication, 4 fleurons on the titles of the volumes, 30 vignettes, 1 tail-piece, and 139 figures drawn by Boucher, Eisen, Gravelot, Leprince, Monnet ... engraved by de Launay, Lemire ... The frontispiece, the dedication plates, the tail-piece, the fleurons of the first three volumes and the vignettes are drawn and engraved by Choffard . "
"Eisen accomplishes at the same time his remarkable work for 'Ovid's Metamorphoses', whose compositions are so worthy to appear alongside those of Moreau, Gravelot and Monnet, chosen like him by the editors Basan and Le Mire, for the ornamentation of their beautiful book. We had the pleasure of admiring these astonishing pencil drawings, drawn from 1766 to 1769, so precise, so graceful and so delicate. The subjects are generally more serious than those he usually deals with; the works of Hercules and the adventures of Apollo are among the most interesting series.” Baron Roger Portalis, Les dessinateurs d’illustrations au XVIIIe siècle.
The vitality of the work is inexhaustible; the Middle-Ages did not consider it inferior to the works of Virgil; in the 13th century, there will finally be a true Ovidian Renaissance. In Italy, in France, in Germany, it was the love manual. It had a notable influence on the Englishman Chaucer, on all the Italian humanistic poetry, on the “savant” style and on the poems of the French-Dutch philologists.
Superb copy bound in contemporary night blue morocco decorated with gilt lyres.
Provenance: the copy was presented at the exhibition « Dix siècles de Livres français » (Lucerne, 1949, n°169), from the Albert Natural library (ex-libris on the endpaper).