MARTIN, Gabriel


MARTIN, Gabriel. Bibliotheca Fayana

Paris, Gabriel Martin, 1725


Small 4to, pp. (xii), 450, 107, (lv). Roman letter, some Italic, a little Greek. Charming allegorical engraved device on t.p. by Jean-Baptiste Scotin (1698-c.1755), Virgilian quotation, ‘per umbras stella facem ducens’; Martin’s print shop was called l’Étoile. Headpieces, decorative initials, borders and tailpieces, lots priced in contemporary hand, additional contemporary pricing notes to rear endpaper. Light age yellowing, spotting to first few ll. A good, comprehensively marked up copy of this important sale catalogue in contemporary calf, spine richly tooled and gilt, red morocco lettering piece, gilt, marbled endpapers, original satin page marker, aer; corners worn, joint cracked, upper cover worn at head, head and tail bands largely missing. As many copies, without the portrait. Armorial bookplate of Léon Duris du Fresne (c.1844-1888, bibliophile from Berry, France) and armorial bookplate of celebrated bibliographer Anthony Hobson inside front cover, Hobson’s pencilled initials on half-title.

Gabriel Martin (1679-1761) was a Parisian printer, ‘qui, le premier en France, après Prosper Marchand, se livra avec succès à la rédaction des catalogues de livres à vendre, et sut la porter à un degré de perfection difficile à surpasser.’ He produced nearly 150 such catalogues, of which only 22, including this one, contained comprehensive indexes. This particular work catalogues the library of Charles-Jérôme de Cisternay Du Fay (1662-1723), captain of the Gardes Françaises and renowned bibliophile. Seriously wounded and forced to retire from active service, Du Fay dedicated himself to his library, building up a large collection of antiquarian books ‘précisément choisis pour leur caractère ancien ainsi que leur “singularité matérielle” et, plus généralement, par le caractère luxueux des exemplaires’. In so doing, it could be said that he was ahead of his time as a collector, being uninterested in the bibliographical criteria cherished by more ‘serious’ collectors. On Du Fay’s death, his library was catalogued and sold by Martin; it comprised 4414 lots. One of the principal buyers at this sale was Count Karl Heinrich von Hoym (1694-1736), who considered Du Fay’s library to be ‘la plus remarquable d’Europe par le choix et la rareté des livres qui la composait.’

Brunet III, 1497; BnF, base des reliures numérisées; ‘On peut dire que ce catalogue est le premier d’un type nouveau et qu’il marque les débuts de la bibliophilie en France.’ Bléchet 83, in Charon 2000.
Stock Number: B23 Category: