BALE, John [BADE, Conrad]
Les vies des evesques et papes de Rome …nouvellement traduites de latin en françoisGeneva, Conrad Badius, 1561
FIRST EDITION thus. 8vo. pp. [lvi], 705, [lxiii]. Roman letter. Title with woodcut printer’s device within charming four part grotesque woodcut border, woodcut initials and headpiece, “From the Hamilton Palace ‘Beckford Library’ dispersed in 1882-1883. Bound by the french binder Derome” with other bibliographical notes in C19th hand on fly, label of Jean Bonna on pastedown. Tiny closed tear at gutter of title, light age yellowing some minor browning to a few leaves (no worm holes, contrary to the description in Christies and ABPC). A fine copy in stunning French C18th red morocco gilt, probably by Derome le Jeune, covers gilt to an elegant panel design, with gilt, pointillé and floral rules, fleurons gilt to outer corners, flat spine gilt ruled in compartments, fleurons gilt at centres withins ovals and fine pointillé and small tools gilt, edges and inner dentelles gilt, all edges gilt, lower corners fractionally rubbed.
A beautiful copy of this rare and most influential translation into French, by the celebrated protestant publisher and author Conrad Bade, in a most elegant French binding. The binding is very much in the late style of Derome le Jeune or his nephew and successor Bradel; see British Library Shelfmark c42c9 and Shelfmark c42c9 for two very similar bindings with his ticket. It is exceptionally skilfully worked in gilt using fine red morocco, and beautifully preserved. “Nicolas-Denis (Derome) was born on 1 October 1731 and succeeded his father in 1760. He was the most expensive binder of his time but a skilfull craftsman. He was always in demand and had to be helped by other binders, which explains the differing quality of his bindings. He adopted the à la dentelle decoration. He introduced on his covers the celebrated fer à l’oiseau (bird) motif for which he became famous but which he did not invent.” British Library.
Bale (1495-1563), a former Carmelite monk who converted to protestantism, later bishop of Ossory, was one of the most outspoken English Protestants of the first half of the C16. After the fall of his patron, Thomas Cromwell in 1540, he fled to Germany, where he busied himself in composing the bitter diatribes which earned him the nickname “Bilious Bale”. On the accession of Edward VI he returned to England to share in the triumph of the reformers and publish in London the works composed in exile. Bale initially wrote this work in Latin and it was first published in Basel in 1558. It was translated into English, with additions by John Studley, as ‘The Pageant of Popes’ in 1574. The French is the first translation into the vernacular. Conrad Bade is justly recognised as a hugely important publisher just for the publication of his friend Calvin’s works but was also a satirical author in his own right. He published his most famous satirical work the ‘Alcoran des Cordeliers’ in 1556 and followed this with another attack on the abuses of the Church with his ‘Satyres Chrestienes de la Cuisine Papale’. “The third polemical work which Badius printed was a translation from Bishop John Bales history of the Popes, Acta Pontifcum Romanorum. Its most interesting feature to us is Bale’s preface in praise of Geneva as it appeared to him in 1558. In this work, which was produced in 1561, Badius reveals himself as a poet, by his versification of the various rhymes in the original,… Like so many who tried their hand at verse in this period, he was never a great poet, yet he was at least spirited and readable which is more than could be said of most of his contemporaries.” Lewis Lupton ‘Conrad Badius’.
A very fine copy of this extremely rare work from William Beckford’s library. William Thomas Beckford (1760 – 1844) extraordinarily wealthy English novelist, art critic, travel writer and politician, now chiefly remembered as the author of the Gothic novel Vathek and builder of the remarkable Fonthill Abbey, the enormous gothic revival country house, largely destroyed. Beckford’s fame rests as much upon his eccentric extravagances as a builder and collector as upon his literary efforts. The opportunity to purchase the complete library of Edward Gibbon gave Beckford the basis for his own library, which was extensive, and dispersed over two years in 1883-4.Not in BM STC Fr. C16th. Adams B-133. Brunet I 625. “Ouvrage Satirique.”