Le blason des armoiries, auquel est monstree la maniere que les anciens & modernes ont vse en icelles. (with) L’ estat et comportement des armes. Contenant l’institution des armoiries, et methode de dresser des genealogies. (with) Le tableau des armoiries de France auquel sont representees les origines.

Paris, chez Rolet Boutonne, au palais, a l’entree de la petite Galerie des prisonniers, 1628 (with) 1630 (with) 1630.

£2,250

Folio. Three vols in one pp. 1) pp. [xii], 197, [iii]. 2) pp. [iv], 95, [i]. 3) pp. [viii], 70, [ii]. Roman letter. First two titles in red and black, large engraved printer’s device on each, of two angels supporting the arms of Louis XIII, signed Picart on first, vol 1 with very numerous woodcut and engraved arms, vol two with woodcut arms and genealogical tables, small woodcut diagrams in text of third, all with fine floriated initials and head and tail-pieces. Light age yellowing, some leaves slightly browned, minor, light, marginal water-stains in places. Very good, clean, well margined copies, in contemporary limp vellum, slightly soiled, nibbled at edges in places, small stab hole in upper cover, upper edge a bit chewed.

An excellent collection of three of the most important French works on heraldry, covering, between them all aspects of that art or science, all corrected and augmented and beautifully illustrated and printed.

The first work by Bara concerns the history and tradition of heraldry starting with a general description of the forms in heraldry, with descriptions of the colours and form of arms and the use, meaning and history of the various symbols. The second part includes descriptions of the arms of a whole host of historical and mythical individuals, including Prester John, Alexander the Great, Hercules, and the arms of the Knights of the Round table, who were a significant element in medieval heraldry. (The identification of individuals from the Arthurian legends with particular arms is evidenced from as early as the 12th century, by the 15th century some 200 such arms had been attributed.) He also includes the arms of figures from the Old Testament, Greek and Roman mythology. The work ends with descriptions of the arms of the major houses of Europe and the high nobility of France.

Scohier’s work, regarded as one of the best French heraldic treatises, also starts with a general description of the form of arms. It then elaborates a method of compiling genealogies and describes how arms are passed from generation to generation, with significant sections on the rights and laws of the wearing of arms.

The final work by Moreau is prefaced by an interesting letter addressed to “La Noblesse Francoise” describing the importance of arms and their heritage to the nobility and royalty. In it describes succinctly the purpose of this work, “de rechercher les raisons des Armoiries tant principals, & substantielles, que parergues, & accessoires, comme de leurs Tymbres, Ordres, & Suports, & puis rebroussant iusqu’a leur premiere origine, tascher de desfricher, & descouvrir l’antiquite des plus grandes, & illustres.”. As stated he researches the first origins of the use of arms and discusses in length the meaning of each major aspect of the design of arms and their first use, their original significance and modern interpretation.

It is probable that the three works were put together by the publisher or a contemporary bookseller as they are complementary in design and use and represent the periods best works on heraldry. Brunet states that they are sometimes found together in this form. (Brunet, Bara I 642).

1) BM STC Fr. C17th B192. Brunet, I 642. Graesse I 287. 2) BM STC Fr. C17th S 475. Brunet V 234. Graesse VI 325. 3) BM STC Fr. C17th M1393. Not in Brunet or Graesse.

L1239

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