Rare first edition of Marguerite de Valois’ poetic works, published by Simon Sylvius, also known as Jean de La Haye, the queen’s valet.
Tchemerzine, IV, 366.
As the sister of Francis I, Marguerite de Valois became the center of the court as soon as her brother came to the throne. She benefits from a vastly greater influence than her brother’s successive wives until the death of the queen’s mother, Louise de Savoie, in 1531.
Sensitive and inspired by the Middle Ages in its appeal for courtly love and allegories, her work marks a transition in literature between the end of this medieval era and the beginning of Renaissance.
Some poems are close to the spirit of the Reformation even though the writer remained faithful to the catholic faith.
Very well printed in italics, this edition is decorated with 10 ravishing wood-engraved vignettes by Bernard Salomon also known as Le Petit Bernard illustrating the poem “La Coche” and appearing here for the first time.
The Histoire des satyres et des nymphes is also illustrated with a vignette in the same style.
A nice floral ornament is repeated on the titles and another at the back of the last leaf of the first volume.
Many ornamented and historiated capitals complete the ornamentation.
There are two issues of this first edition.
The copy presents signs of the second issue noted by Tchemerzine, IV, pp 369-370.
The last leaf of the second volume has to be blank and bear at the back the arabesque diamond-shaped floral ornament from the first volume; in this copy the printer has placed a leaf bearing the mark of Gryphe.
The copy has been enriched with a leaf with floral and animal border of Flemish style engraved in intaglio, bearing a manuscript title mounted on a blank leaf as a frontispiece to the second volume.
Always sought-after by bibliophiles this precious edition is “difficult to find in good condition”.
Tchemerzine only cites one copy in 16th century binding that was marked at the considerable price of 1800 gold francs at the Morgan catalogue of 1903.
Brunet adds: « The most sought-after edition of these poems, well preserved copies are rare ». Brunet, III, 1414.
He only cites one copy in red morocco bound by Padeloup that was sold for the great amount of 680 gold Francs at the Renouard library auction.
Precious copy of this important edition of our literature bound in beautiful red morocco with grotesques by Padeloup, one of the most famous binders of the 18th century.
It comes from Horace de Landau’s library (I, 1885) with an engraved ex-libris.