LE FERON, Jehan.
FIRST ARMORIAL PRINTED IN FRANCE
Catalogues des illustres mareschaulx […] de France.Paris, M. de Vascosan, 1555.
FIRST EDITIONS. Small folio, 6 parts in 1, ff. 26, 28, 10, 32, 20, 18. Roman letter. Separate title to each, within criblé and strapwork woodcut border, 419 large woodcut armorial shields, first border and first 17 shields in early colouring, decorated initials and ornaments. First and fourth title lightly browned, very light water stain along outer blank margin of B3-5 (IV) and to lower outer corner of first gathering of Part VI. An excellent, crisp and clean copy, on thick high-quality paper, in near contemporary vellum over boards, triple and double blind ruled, 4 silk ties, early title and shelfmark to spine, small loss at foot, all edges blue, light worming to joints, ‘Anno 1626 Fridericus Casimirus Comes in Ortenburg’ ms to front pastedown, the same to first title, C16 ms ‘Joachim G[raf] z[u] Ortenburg’, or variations thereof, to all titles, early ms shelfmark on first title, couple of German ms notes in his hand to D1 and A3 (II)
An excellent, crisp and clean copy of the first edition of this heraldic collection – ‘the first armorial printed in France’ (Jimenes) – lavishly illustrated with over 400 fine woodcut heraldic shields of the most famous marshals, grand-masters, admirals, dukes and constables, chancellors and provosts of France and Paris, from Clovis to Henry II. Beautifully printed on thick, high-quality paper, it is rarely found complete in all 6 parts. Jehan Le Feron (1504-70), advocate in the Parliament of Paris, was a renowned heraldic scholar, later made Royal Historiographer by Henry II. Originally contracted with Jean Barbé and Vincent Sertenas in the 1540s, these 6 heraldic catalogues were printed by Vascosan after the death of Barbé, with a presentation copy to the King. Each section comprises a short biography followed by a finely cut heraldic shield – none of these appears to have been used elsewhere – the work of a superb heraldic artist. ‘Repeated on each of the 6 title-pages is the criblé and strapwork title-border attributed to Oronce Finé and first used in his “Quadratura circuli”, printed by Simon de Colines in 1544. Although there is no general titlepage, the contents are enumerated in Le Féron’s dedication as “Connestables, Chancelliers, grands Maistres, Admiraulx, & Mareschaulx de France & Preuostz de Paris”. A collective title was used for the second edition, printed by Fréderic Morel in 1598’ (Mortimer). This copy was purchased, in parts, by Count Joachim of Ortenburg (1559-1600), a Lutheran firmly opposed to the policy of Duke Albert V. In addition to signing each title, Joachim was a careful reader, glossing the biography of his ancestor, Arnulphe de Artenberg, Count of Paris, c.900, probably of the Capetian line. He also noted that Freiherr von Winnenburg und Beilstein shared the same shield, with three horns, as Othon d’Ornes. Friedrich Casimir of Ortenburg (1591-1658), heir to Joachim and a great lover of scholarship and the arts, inherited, signed and perhaps bound these copies. A very handsome volume, with most interesting early provenance.I-VI: Brunet III, 924; Mortimer, French, n.342; Guigard 1977. I: USTC 23315; Pettegree & Walsby 33459; II: USTC 29242; Pettegree & Walsby 33464; III: USTC 23186; Pettegree & Walsby 33463; IV: Not in USTC; V: USTC 23316, Pettegree & Walsby 33465; VI: USTC 25005; Pettegree & Walsby 33462. Rémi Jimenes, \\\\\\\\\\\\\\\'Jean Le Féron, héraldiste, entre manuscrits et imprimés\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\', Bulletin du bibliophile, 1 (2022), pp.51-85.