D’ARCUSSIA, Charles.

D’ARCUSSIA, Charles. La Fauconnerie. [with] La Fauconnerie Du Roy.

Rouen, Francois Vaultier et Javcques Besongne, 1644, 1643

£3,950.00

Two works in one. 4tp. Pp. (vi) 334 (viii); (xii) 174. Roman letter, some Italic. Tps with woodcut ornament, a bit chipped at edges. Floriated head and tail pieces and initials. First book has 14 beautiful full page engravings of hunting birds and their body parts. Ffep ms acquisition note 1938. Light age browning and foxing. A good copy in contemporary vellum.

Important treatise on the art of falconry by the gentilhomme ordinaire á la cour, Charles D’Arcussia (c. 1544-1628). A classic manual by this Provençale nobleman, first published in Aix in 1598. According to Harting, the text is more accurate than in previous editions. D’Arcussia was born at the Chateau d’Esparron in Provence and later was appointed by Henry IV as the first consul of Aix as well as the region’s prosecutor and state’s deputy for Provence. Overlaying these diplomatic positions, however, was a deep passion for hunting and nature. D’Arcussia’s ancestors had supplied hawks to the Holy Roman Emperors, and a notebook on falconry written by them remained in the collection of his family four hundred years later. Indeed, it is this that had partially inspired the writing of La Fauconnerie. D’Arcussia was brought up in the court of Le Comte de Tende, Governor of Provence, where a large hawking and falconry base had been set up. D’Arcussia was appointed as gentleman of the falconry for both Henry IV and Louis XIII, and it was during this appointment that he published the first edition of this reputable treatise in 1599. D’Arcussia left three major works on falconry, and his skills led him to be employed in the War of Religion, where he helped the royal troops take Esparon.

It went through eleven editions in 45 years and was still utilised in the 19th century. Ornithologist Stephen Bodio calls this “the most interesting falconry book between Frederic II and the late 19th-century The Art and Practice of Hawking”. Harting states “the work is much esteemed on account of its originality and the amount of information which it contains, and particularly the description which the authors gives of flights which he witnessed when hawking with the king.” (p. 82). Thiébaud, 28: “One of the main works on falconry”. Souhart, 22: “Arcussia’s work is one of the best done on Falconry”.

First published in 1599, the 1643 edition is not recorded in James Edmund Harting, Bibliotheca Accipitraria, page 80-82; nor in Schwerdt, Hunting, Hawking and Shooting, Volume I, page 43, but they do have the 1644. “Dont 10 éditions successives en moins d’un demi-siècle (1598-1644) attestent le succès” (Thiébaud).

Brunet I 389.
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