BOISSARD, Jean Jacques [with] DE BRUYN, Abraham.

BOISSARD, Jean Jacques [with] DE BRUYN, Abraham.


BOISSARD, Jean Jacques. Habitus variorum orbis gentium. [with]

[Malins, Caspar Rutz, 1581]

DE BRUYN, Abraham. Sacri Romani Imperi ornatus.

[Antwerp, Caspar Rutz, 1588]

FIRST EDITION OF FIRST. Two works in one. Oblong folio, ff. (iv) 33 full page engraved plates, one hand coloured; + ff. (ii) 47 full page engraved plates. Engraved historiated initials. First work full page engraved frontispiece with allegorical figures of four continents within architectural border, engraved portrait of Boissard to dedication, lacking the portrait leaf following. Second, large engraved portrait of Pope Gregory XIII to dedication, overleaf large engraved portrait of Sixtus V, scenes from his life at corners. Contemp. ms ‘This booke’ to dedication of first work, early ms page numbers to upper outer corner throughout. Light age browning, first tp repaired without loss, tears at edges, a bit browned, repairs to first dedication, light smudges and little oil spot to some margins. Marginal repairs, small hole to one plate, red ink stain to lower outer corner of first engraved plate of second work. A good clean, well margined copy in contemp. calf, high relief ornamental stamps in arabesque design to centre and corners, decorative borders, gilt faded, rebacked, scratches to covers, partly covered C16 German printed leaf as rear pastedown.

Remarkable collection of costume plates from two works depicting the dress of men and women of many nations from Europe, Africa, and Asia. The engravings are in excellent impression with very fine contrast, shading and exceptional detail. The plates are consecutively numbered in a contemporary hand (in mixed bibliographical order) and were doubtless collected at the behest of an early owner of sufficient means to commission this elaborate binding. Given that the only coloured plate represents Henry VIII, Edward VI, Mary I and Elizabeth I and the only contemp. annotation is in English, that owner is very likely to have been British.

The first work contains styles of dress engraved onto 33 plates by the celebrated Flemish antiquary, writer and draughtsman Jean Jacques Boissard (1528-1602). As well as the plates depicting national costumes, Boissard included an impressive full page frontispiece with four female allegorical figures representing Europe, Africa, Asia and America dated 1581 and an engraved self-portrait of his profile as he writes. The plates depicting national costumes are numbered 3 to 8, then 13 to 36, and 39 to 42, ex 67. The first, plate 3, is exquisitely hand coloured. It depicts Henry VIII and his children who succeeded him. Following this, the dress of European noblemen and noblewomen is portrayed, along with the costume of varying social and military ranks from a number of European states including Holland, Venice and Hungary. Boissard then depicts the dress of the Turks, Arabs and Jews.

Boissard was born at Bessançon and educated at Leuven, later travelling widely across Italy and Greece. He developed a passion for archaeology and humanistic studies, in part due to his time in the entourage of Cardinal Caraffa in Rome. He acquired an impressive collection of antiquities.

The second work is by Abraham de Bruyn, the Flemish engraver ranked amongst the Little Masters on account of the meticulous detail in his plates. It contains 47 full page engraved plates ex 69. Two large engraved portraits of Pope Gregory XIII and Pope Sixtus V introduce the collection. The costume plates are labelled 1 to 25, then 3, 4, two labelled 5, three labelled 6, then 7, 16, 20.B, 21, 24, 27, 40, 41, 42, 45, 47, 55, 57, 58 and 59. The first section depicts the dress of various religious beginning with the senior ranks of Catholicism. Monastic robes for nuns and monks are portrayed. The later mixed sections depict noblemen and women from Venice in various garbs as well as a handsome portrayal of a gondola ride. Other Italian and European dress is depicted followed by engravings by Boissard from the present edition, of a middle eastern Royal Commissaire, Provincial Governor and Primary Judge with large turbans and ornate robes. Later plates show indigenous peoples from Africa, Arabia and the Indies.

De Bruyn (c. 1539-1587) first established himself at Cologne and produced portraits of Charles IX, King of France and Albert Frederick, Duke of Prussia. He engraved in the manner of Wierix, and worked in a neat and formal style. The religious costume were first produced for the ‘Imperii ac Sacerdotii Ornatus. Diversam item Genitum peculiaris Vestitus’, 1577-8. This was reissued with additional secular costumes, of which this conglomerate volume contains 47.

Brunet I 1288; Colas (Boissard) 366; Colas (De Bruyn) 477.