THE HOUSE OF ORANGE HONOURS QUEEN HENRIETTA, THE BANKS COPY

Beschrivinge vande Blyde Inkoomste, Rechten van Zeege-bogen en ander toestel op de Wel-koomste van Haare Majesteyt van Groot-Britanien, Vrankryk, en Jerland.

Amsterdam, Nicolaes van Ravesteyn for Pieter Nolpe, 1642.

£8,500

FIRST EDITION. Large folio, pp. (viii), 36 (11 engraved plates). Roman letter, verse in Italic. Large woodcut printer’s device of two lions flanking the arms of Amsterdam on title, six superb double page allegorical plates, five full page engraved plates of triumphal arches, and one very large folding engraved view of Amsterdam, all engraved by Pieter Nolpe after Peter Potter and others, autograph “S.S. Banks 1813” at head of dedication. Small tear in one leaf expertly restored, no loss and not affecting plate, one blank outer corner restored, some light damp staining towards head of last ten leaves (some leaf loosening). A superb, large copy, with excellent dark impressions of the plates, in contemporary polished vellum over boards.

Magnificent fête book attributed to Samuel Coster, commemorating the 1642 entry into Amsterdam of Henrietta Maria, superbly illustrated with a series of allegorical engravings celebrating her visit, and a wonderful large engraved view of Amsterdam (quite commonly missing). Henrietta Maria (1609 – 1669), Queen Consort of Charles I, arrived in Holland after a stormy crossing in March 1642. Ostensibly her journey was to offer Princess Mary’s hand, her daughter, to her future husband William II Prince of Orange, but she also used the occasion to try to obtain military and financial assistance for the King.

She received a less than enthusiastic welcome, since she was both Catholic and a queen, and the Protestant republic was reluctant to help. The Prince of Orange was apprehensive about assisting her for fear of jeopardizing his own position with the States, and hoping to maintain good relations with both sides. Despite this, the City of Amsterdam agreed to receive the royal guests. For the occasion of her arrival ‘tableau vivants’ of Arion, and the Dolphin and Perseus and Andromeda were planned in the Damrak (then still a canal), but were never actually performed. These scenes or fêtes, represented in allegorical engravings by Nolpe, had strong political overtones.

“In Dutch literature, the subject of Andromeda stands for the threatened country – the Netherlands – and Perseus for the noble hero who liberates it from tyranny. … In 1642 a tableau vivant (in the waters of the Rokin) was planned for the joyous entry of Henrietta Maria in Amsterdam, with Perseus symbolizing Frederick Henry.” Jan Suijter. Again the figure of Arion rescued by the dolphin in the next plate symbolized the Netherlands saved by William of Orange. The other four scenes represented: ‘The marriage of Peleus and Thetis’ (a prefiguration of the Marriage of William II and Mary Stuart), ‘The Treaty of Adolf van Nassau,’ ‘The Marriage of Reinout II of Egmond and Eleonora Plantagenet,’ and ‘The Marriage of James II of Scotland and Maria van Egmond.’ All were subjects chosen to allude to the importance of the Orange family in the well-being of the Dutch Republic, and to stress the connection between the Stuarts and the House of Orange.

The series is very finely engraved by Nolpe after oil sketches by the celebrated artist Peter Potter, one of which survives, in the Rijksmuseum Amsterdam. The other engravings show the stages or triumphal arches designed for the fêtes. The last engraving is a very finely engraved large sea view of Amsterdam showing the salut given by the fleet in welcome of Henrietta Maria. This view is particularly rare. A large copy, with all the plates retaining their full margins, of a rare work, especially complete.

Sarah Sophia Banks was an English collector of antiquities and sister to the celebrated naturalist Joseph Banks. Her important collection of theatrical ephemera containing playbills, broadsides, notices, and press-cuttings dealing with private theatrical performances, dating from 1750 to 1808, was presented to the British Museum Library on her death in 1818.

Landwehr, Splendid ceremonies, 1971, p. 111. Ruggieri 1088; Vinet 746.

L1021

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