Les escritures financiere et italienne bastarde.

Paris, chez l’Auteur, 1649, 1650.


Oblong folio. 3 unnumbered and unsigned ll. + 50 calligraphic plates + 1 engraved portrait. Mainly financière, Italian and bâtarde letter, little chancery, Hebrew, Armenian, Syriac and Arabic. 50 outstanding etched plates with calligraphic samples and pen flourishing, index (pl.1) within etched decorated frame, large engraved author’s portrait dated 1650, decorated initials and vignettes. Edges trimmed occasionally just touching pen flourishing, lower blank margins slightly shorter on five ll., the odd ink splash or marginal mark, small repair to pl.12 blank verso. An excellent copy, in fresh impression, in late C19 crushed crimson morocco, marbled eps, double blind ruled, raised bands, spine gilt, a.e.g., contemporary pen trials to five pls.

Handsome copy of this early (probably second) edition of this masterpiece of calligraphy—beautifully printed, with plates in fine impression, and unrecorded in major bibliographies. Son of a ‘maître écrivain’, Louis Barbedor (1589-1670) was a major master-calligrapher and Secretary of the Chambre du Roi. ‘Escritures’ is an outstanding summary of the calligraphic tradition of contemporary administration, with numerous samples reproducing document templates. The plates—‘supérieurement écrits, et parfaitement gravé sur cuivre’ (Jansen, ‘Essai’, 66)—were cut by Robert Cordier (d. c.1680). ‘In his mid-C17 overhaul of French royal administration, Colbert introduced three new scripts based on Barbedor, collectively known as ‘ronde’ ([…] a compromise between humanistic and gothic cursive): […] ‘écriture financière’ (an upright script still betraying several gothic features), coulée (a running […] script), and ‘italienne-bastarde’ (a sloping, more humanistic style)’ (Greetham, 210). The ‘bâtarde’ was written ‘using a quill cut differently […] and was, as a result, formed by different hand movements’ (Bennett, ‘Repertories’, 51). The plates also include samples of humanistic Roman capitals, Greek, English, Dutch, Hebrew, ‘Rabinica’, Samaritan, Syriac, Arabic and Armenian letter, as well as a handsome round diagram. A rare masterpiece.

This 1649 edition probably follows another without place or printer, tentatively dated 1647. Another printed, in Paris by N. Langlois, appeared without date, but probably c.1650. The author’s portrait, dated 1650, is also present in the Langlois edition.

No copies recorded in the US.
Berlin 5106-5107 (later eds only). Not in Brunet. H. Jansen, Essai sur l’origine de la gravure en bois et en taillerdouce (1808), II; L.P. Bennett, Sacred Repertories (Farnham, 2009); D.C. Greetham, Textual Scholarship (1994).


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Corona delle nobili et virtuose donne. Libro primo [- quarto].

Venice, appresso Cesare Vecellio, 1601.


Oblong 8vo in 4s. 4 parts in 1, separate t-ps, ff. [28] unnumbered, A-G4; ff. [28] unnumbered, AA-GG4; ff. [28] unnumbered, AAA-GGG4; ff. [32] unnumbered, AAAA-HHHH4. Roman letter. Woodcut printer’s device to t-ps, large woodcut with Venus and gentlewomen sewing to A3, 108 white-on-black woodcut sewing patterns, occasional text or figurative illustrations of female personifications, animals or grotesques, decorated initials. Occasional finger soiling, marginal ink smudges from contemporary annotations to few blank margins or versos, small marginal repair to blank verso of first t-p and DDD2-3, outer blank margin of C3 and CCC2-3 trimmed. A very good copy, in fresh impression, in probably C19 russet morocco, later marbled eps, double gilt ruled, ornate early crimson morocco panel inlaid from probably original binding, bordered with rolls of tendrils, gilt to a pointillé design of corner- and centrepieces with large fleurons and gouges, semé of gilt dots, raised bands. Morocco label of Robert Hoe to front pastedown, numerous annotations dated 1682-1708, few later pencilled annotations to margins.

A lavishly illustrated sammelband of scarce editions, elegantly bound and of illustrious provenance, of the four parts of this famous sewing pattern book for gentlewomen. Cesare Vecellio (1521-1601) was a Venetian engraver and painter. His most famous publication is ‘De gli Habiti Antichi e Moderni’ (1590), a visual encyclopaedia of world fashion in his time. ‘Corona delle nobili et virtuose donne’ first appeared in 1591 in 3 parts, dedicated to Viena Vendramina Nani and also sold separately; a fourth, with a different title, was issued in 1593. All were reprinted, with additions, several times. ‘Although the earliest examples [of textile pattern books] were intended for a diverse audience of artists, craftsmen, and art enthusiasts, over the course of the C16 the titles, illustrations, and printers’ introductions were aimed more and more at […] girls and women’ (Speelberg, ‘Fashion’, 42). The patterns illustrated in these works reproduce famous stitching points used in Venice—a centre of lace production—and Europe. The most important are ‘punto a reticella’ (‘made by drawing the threads of the cloth […] or by working the lace on a parchment pattern in button-hole stitch’), ‘punto tagliato’ (cut-work) and ‘punto in aria’ (‘worked on a parchment pattern’); others, like the ‘opere a mazzette’ mentioned in the title, have remained unidentified (Palliser, ‘History’, 43-46). Some patterns were specifically for handkerchiefs or ‘bavari’ (veils) in the Venetian style. The annotations in this copy, dating 1682-1708, reveal the serendipitous fate of such crafts book, this copy having been used as an unofficial account book before being elegantly rebound for a bibliophile’s collection. The writer was from mainland Veneto (e.g., ‘mastea’ for washtub). Although the notes mostly relate to the sale of wine and grains, mentioning debts paid by specific customers (both men and women), the business included sartorial services, for which the present work provided practical suggestions. Indeed, there are accounts concerning cloths—cream-coloured satin, and distaffs (‘fuseli’) of linen and hemp—and finished garments (a satin shirt).

Robert Hoe (1839-1909) of New York was one of the great collectors of the turn of the C20. His personal library catalogue was published between 1903 and 1919 in 16 vols and its sale fetched over £400,000.

No copies recorded in the US.

Catalogue of the library of Robert Hoe II, 1879; Brunet V, 1105 (1591 ed.); Berlin Cat. 940. B. Palliser, A History of Lace (London, 1869); F. Speelberg, Fashion & Virtue (New York, 2016).


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Vivae omnium fere imperatorum imagines.

Antwerp, [s.n., but Egidius Copenius Disthemius], 1557.


FIRST EDITION thus. Folio. 176 unnumbered ll., * 6 a-b 6 A-Z 6 Aa-Bb 6 Cc-Dd 4 , 151 plates included in signature. Italic letter, little Roman, occasional Hebrew. Etched t-p with architectural vignette and small oval portrait of Goltzius, 151 full-page plates of medals with 141 emperors’ portraits (7 on same plate, 16 plates blank as usual), etched and cut in chiaroscuro in ochre and brown. T-p a little browned, just trimmed at foot, index numbers inked over on 4 pages, occasional slight browning or mainly marginal spotting, light offsetting from plates (better than usual), ink burn affecting portrait on pl. 96 and couple of words on verso, little hole in blank at gutter. A good copy, in fresh impression, in C17 French speckled calf, spine gilt, gilt heraldic monogram to compartments, joints and corners repaired and head and foot of spine. Printed ex-libris of Jacques Laget on front pastedown.

A very good copy of the first Latin edition of this important, lavishly illustrated work, featuring the first chiaroscuro book illustration. Hubertus Goltzius (1526-83) was a Flemish painter and engraver trained in classical art by his father, a German artist. He worked for 12 years on this compendium of Roman imperial coins and medals, from Julius Caesar to the Holy Roman Emperors Charles V and Ferdinand, which he had seen in the collection of Antwerp humanists including the geographer Cornelius Grapheus and the antiquarian Marc Laurin, Duke of Watervliet. The first edition was published in Spanish in 1550; Italian, German and Latin translations followed in 1557, urged by the great success of the work. Goltzius’s displayed the first combined use of copperplate and woodblocks engraved following the chiaroscuro technique—its first appearance in a book. ‘Prints in chiaroscuro were [generally] not intended for use as book illustrations, but for sale as separate plates, or occasionally in sets’ (Burch, ‘Colour Printing’, 28). The woodcutter, Josse Gietleughen of Courtrai, prepared two blocks for each etched image: ‘a darker tone provide[d] the background for the effigy, a lighter tone the flesh-tone and the background for the inscription, and the white of the paper the highlights’ (Wouk, in ‘Printing Colour 1400-1700’, 154). Each medallion is surmounted by a motto summarising the virtues and vices of the individual emperor and preceded by a short account of his deeds. This copy includes the uncommon oval pl. 156, portraying Maximilian II and Philip II on D 2 recto (usually blank); we have traced the same collation only in BNE and St Geneviève. The plate was probably added in later issues, after Philip II, the dedicatee of the work, was crowned in January 1557 (1556 old style). The future Maximilian II was the eldest son and heir of Ferdinand I, Holy Roman Emperor. The gilt monogram on the spine appears to be a stylisation of Louis XIV’s famous ‘chiffre’, with interlacing Ls, though with a surmounting ducal crown. Although we have not been able to trace a similar chiffre, it was probably a duke related to Louis XIV.

Pettigree, Netherlandish Books, 13496; Brunet II, 1654 (mentioned); Bib. Belgica III, 241; Hollstein, Dutch, VIII, 139.


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PIGNORIA, Lorenzo.


Vetustissimae tabulae Aeneae Sacris Aegyptiorum Simulachris coelatae accurata Explicatio.

Venice, G.A. Rampazetto & G. Franco, 1605.


FIRST EDITION. Large 8vo. pp. (xii) 43 (x) + 12 large folding engraved plates. Italic letter, little Roman. Superb engraved vignette with view of St Mark’s Square to t-p, 12 large folding engraved plates with ancient inscriptions and hieroglyphs of the Mensa Isiaca, recto of five ll. filled with woodcuts of ancient seals, other small woodcut text illustrations, decorated initials. Slight yellowing, small light water stain to upper blank margin, and lower outer blank corner of few ll., one blank verso splashed with minimal see-through. A very good, fresh copy in mottled half calf over sprinkled paper boards c1700, raised bands, spine gilt, gilt label, a.e.r., a little rubbed. Modern bookplate to front pastedown, small pencilled casemark to t-p margin.

A very good, fresh copy of the first edition of this important, lavishly illustrated antiquarian work—with 12 superb folding tables by Enea Vico—by the antiquary and collector Lorenzo Pignoria (1571-1631). It is a study of the ‘Mensa Isiaca’, an elaborately decorated tablet of bronze, enamel and silver acquired by Cardinal Bembo after the sack of Rome of 1527 and later by the Gonzaga in Mantua. Though now believed to be of 1 st-century Roman, not Egyptian, origin, it soon began to inspire the study of hieroglyphs and ancient Egyptian cults; Valeriano too mentioned it in his ‘Hieroglyphica’ and Athanasius Kircher wrote on it in 1652. Pignoria’s work, the first scholarly study, ‘has been considered by subsequent scholars as the most valuable, both for the author’s purpose [not to interpret the tablet allegorically but using ancient sources] and for its historical information’ (Leospo, ‘Mensa Isiaca’, 2). Pignoria was ‘willing to hazard an interpretation of the table’s symbols, but his identifications of individual figures were explicitly tentative, and he did not attempt to explain how they related to one another semantically’ (Stolzenberg, ‘Oegyptian’, 46). The sources include Greek epigraphic inscriptions, ancient amulets and seals, many beautifully illustrated; the tablet is also superbly portrayed in the 12 large folding tables. These were originally produced by Vico in 1559, by commission of Torquato Bembo; Vico was granted a ten-year privilege to print them with the title ‘Vetustissimae Tabulae Aeneae’. In 1600, Giovanni Franco had the plates copied and recut, and sold them as a collection of 12 prints, including the t-p. Copies of Pignoria’s edition are recorded (and were probably bound) with  a variable number of plates, from none to 12. With 12, this copy collates like Princeton, Bib. Apost. Vaticana (Cicognara) and Bib. Naz. Centrale (Rome). These lavishly illustrated copies were probably deluxe versions, produced by Franco with the addition of Vico’s plates.

Cicognara 2544; Brunet IV, 651. E. Leospo, La Mensa Isiaca di Torino (Leiden, 1978); D. Stolzenberg, Egyptian Oedipus (Chicago, 2013).


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GIARDA, Cristoforo


Bibliothecae Alexandrinae icones symbolicae.

[Milan], G.B. Bidelli, 1628.


4to. 140 signed ll. plus 28 unsigned plates and their descriptions. Roman letter, with Italic. Engraved architectural t-p with Sts Paul and Alexander, 16 engraved plates with female figures within arch, decorated initials, head- and tailpieces. Large light (wine?) stains to first few ll., very slight marginal marking in a few places. A very good, wide-margined copy retaining numerous uncut edges, in C19 red morocco, triple gilt ruled, rebacked, gilt spine retained, inner gilt dentelles. Bookplates of Robert Hoe, John Barrymore and ‘The Lamberts’ to feps.

A very good copy of the second edition of this attractively illustrated Baroque celebration of the ‘artes liberales’. Cristoforo Giarda (1595-1649) was an Italian bishop in Castro, where he was appointed by the Pope without consultation with the local ‘signore’ Ranuccio II Farnese—an event which sparked a war between the dukedom and the Pontifical States. He was also interested in emblems. ‘Iconae symbolicae’ is rooted in the C16 emblematic tradition as a monument to knowledge epitomized by the disciplines celebrated by the destroyed Library of Alexandria. It presents female personifications of the ‘artes liberales’—e.g., Astronomy, Law, Theology, Philosophy and Eloquence—in statuary form accompanied by learned glosses. For instance, after celebrating the discipline in which there are ‘as many heads as there are diagnoses’, he explained that Medicine was depicted with flowers, herbs, books and a vulture, which stood for medicaments, assiduous study and the possibility of the patients’ death. ‘Icones’ was rooted in the reading of Greco-Roman iconography promoted by the ground-breaking C16 manuals of Cesare Ripa and Natale Conti who interpreted the allegorical personifications and emblems of the classical tradition through multiple meanings. Unlike them, ‘Icones’ imposed on them a specific, single meaning, following the new interpretations of the Baroque period. Indeed, to Giarda the doctrine of symbols was an instrument useful ‘to explain everything’ and helped man ‘to imitate divine perfection’.

Robert Hoe of New York was one of the great collectors of the turn of the C20. His personal library catalogue was published between 1903 and 1919 in 16 vols and its sale fetched over £400,000.

John Barrymore (1882-1912) was a celebrated American actor of stage and screen. His first choice of career had been an artist, studying at the Slade, which may explain his appreciation of the present volume. It was however a gift to him from ‘the Lamberts’ (Constance Lambert?) in 1925 as recorded over the bookplate on the pastedown. Given Barrymore’s long-standing drink problem, the early staining is almost certainly wine, not ink.

BM STC C17 It., p 395; Praz 349; Landwehr, Romantic Emblem Books, 320. Not in Brunet, Graesse or Adams.


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MAGGI, Giovanni, ROSSI, Bartolomeo. [with] CAVALIERI, Giovanni Battista


Ornamenti di fabriche antichi et moderni dell’alma citta di Roma.

[Roma], Andrea Della Vaccheria, [1600]. [with]

Antiquarum statuarum urbis Romae…icones.

Roma, Lorenzo Della Vaccheria, 1584.


4to. 2 works in 1, ff. 96 unnumbered and unsigned ll., I) FIRST EDITION, 24; II) 72, separate t-p to each. Little Italic letter, with Roman. Engraved architectural t-ps with allegorical figures, putti and grotesques; 94 engraved plates (some hand-coloured) of Roman monuments and buildings within urban views, and statues of ancient heroes, deities and historical figures. Faint waterstaining to upper margins of first few ll., a little thumbing, minor spotting usually to blank verso of plates, early repair to verso of one plate touching image with no loss, first gathering a bit loose and lightly browned, minor loss to lower outer blank corner of one fol. Very good copies, on thick high-quality paper, in contemporary limp vellum, covers soiled, minor tears to edges, traces of label, spine repaired with carta rustica at head, printed red and black lining and beneath pastedown. C19 library stamp and early numeral inked to fep, modern printed portrait of Clement XI pasted to verso of fly, also early overwritten Italian purchase note. In folding box.

Very good copies of these superb illustrated works, in fine impression on high-quality paper, celebrating the antiquities of Rome. Commissioned by the printer Andrea della Vaccaria, this first edition of ‘Ornamenti di fabriche’ is a collection of 24 plates—some hand-coloured in this copy—engraved by the artist Giovanni Maggi (1566-1618), with narrative captions composed by the scholar Bartolomeo Rossi. The illustrations guide the readers through the meanders of Rome towards the discovery of ancient and modern monuments including obelisks with hieroglyphs, the sculpted horses on the Quirinal, Trajan’s column, and the more recent catafalques for the funerals of Sixtus V and Alessandro Farnese. Each monument provides the occasion for a snapshot of brief and juicy antiquarian narratives, basking in epigraphic material, ‘vedute’, classicism and the charm of ruins. Despite its title, ‘Antiquarum statuarum urbis Romae’ is not strictly a third edition of its namesake original, but a collection of plates from the previous ones (1561, 1562) commissioned by the publisher Lorenzo della Vaccheria, Andrea’s father. Produced by Cherubino Alberti and Orazio Santis under the supervision of the engraver Giovanni Battista Cavalieri (c.1525-1601), it provides a magnificent gallery of the most renowned Roman statues such as the Laocoon and Marcus Aurelius on horseback as well as more general sculptures like satyrs, deities, river gods, shepherds, emperors and heroes. Both works are outstanding examples of the genre of Roman print collections so dear to Renaissance humanists and artists. They epitomize the art of ‘vedutismo’ and perspective, the new science of epigraphy (including hieroglyphs), the achievements of Renaissance classicism, historiography and antiquarianism, and the seed of the ‘picturesque’ movement of the C18. Whilst they gave the opportunity for ‘arm-chair travelling’ to learned readers who did not wish to leave their homes, these collections also inspired the sketches and works of painters, engravers and architects and the study of humanists, who had visited seen them in Rome and purchased a memento for reference. A couple of copies are recorded in which I and II are bound together; they may have been sold in that fashion by Andrea della Vaccheria who probably had plates from Cavalieri’s work left over from his father’s time—hence the inconsistent composition of recorded copies.

I) Huntington, UPenn, Columbia and Illinois copies recorded in the US.

BM STC It., p. 588. Not in Brunet, Mortimer Harvard C16 or Fowler.

II) Huntington, Yale and UPenn copies recorded in the US.

Not in BM STC It., Brunet or Mortimer Harvard C16.


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Eight Bohemian Landscapes [Prague, c.1607]


8-plate series of copperplate engravings on thick laid paper depicting Bohemian Landscapes. Engravings measure 270x205mm, pages 245×355 A very good, well-margined copy in modern 1/4 calf over green cloth boards.   


The sun bursts through the clouds above a mighty river on which are all sorts of boats  A town in the background basks in the sun, a few laden travellers continue along the road in the foreground.


A river runs through the scene, passing travellers, a mill and  various buildings, finishing with some women washing clothes in the waters. One small rustspot to centre.


After a city, the travellers continue on their way, passing vast, dark trees.  The river cascades in a miniature waterfall to the right.


Underneath a vast tranche of sky, travellers pause in a small settlement.  Far below, boats meander around riverside towns.


An impressive array of pinnacled buildings greet the travellers, rising in the distance to a lofty citadel.  The sky is thronged with birds.


In the shade of a great tree, two horsemen appraoch a small cottage.  Beyong, bathed in sunlight, a castle and river valley.


Preparing to cross a river, the travellers pause briefly before a wooded stoney outcrop.


A river in spate beneath an open sky.  In the very foreground, two hunters with gambolling hounds.

Ægidius Sadeler (c. 1568-1629) is generally considered to be the most talented scion of the Sadelers (Hind), a “phoenix among engravers” (von Sandrart).  Encountering both the Mannerist circle of Hendrik Goltzius, Rubens and Brueghel, nonetheless Aegidius developed his own distinctive artistic personality and style. He experimented with different burin techniques, using patterns of hatching to add texture and tonality, emphaissing the unnatural stylistion of the landscapes. His contact with the Mannerists was slo influential, leading him to experiment widely with chiaroscuro in his later career.  After a diverse education and training, he settled in Prague in 1597, and was appointed Imperial engraver by Emperor Rudoph II.  It was in Prague that he produced the major part of some 150 landscapes that have been attributed to him.  They are representative of his collaboration with the Prague court artists, Roelandt Savery, and Pieter Stevens – whose works form the basis for some of the current series.  These landscapes are in several cases the sole surviving record of the artist’s work, adding to their importance.

Hollstein Aegidius Sadeler II.  XXI.255-262– State 2.


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PASSE, Crispijn van de


Hortus floridus. A garden of flovvers, vvherein very liuely is contained a true and perfect discription of al the flovvers contained in these foure followinge bookes.

Utrecht, By Salomon de Roy, for Crispian de Passe, 1615.


FIRST EDITION thus. Oblong folio. Five parts in one volume. 1) ff.  (vii) [(-)1, A-C2], forty three plates of flowers, one of garden scene and one of ‘Epigramma’. 2) ff. (ii) [D1-2], one plate of garden scene, 20 plates of flowers. 3) ff. (iii) [E1-2, F1], twenty eight plates of flowers. 4) ff. (ii) [F2, G1], twelve plates of flowers. 5) ff. (ii) (title and engraved title), sixty one plates of flowers with explanatory text on versos, ff. (i) [G2]. Book one extra illustrated with two additional plates after plate 41, “Bulbus Narcisci marini” and “Radix Cyclamini.” Book three with plate seventeen from the latin version, text on verso, bound out of order, plate 24 re-margined (book four has a fine extra plate 24), extra illustrated with plates 7 and 12 from the winter section, and plate 1 of winter section bound at end. Book four with plates out of order (with plate 1 at end of book 3), extra illustrated with plate 24 from book three, plate 7 from latin edition with text on verso (the correct version is added in book 3). Roman and Italic letter. Text to Parts I-IV in English, text to Altera Pars in Latin. Additional engraved title in Latin tipped in, dated 1614, with mythical figures to sides, portraits in roundels of Dodoens and Clusius, verso of general typographic title with ‘The Book to his Readers’ within typographical border, final leaf G2r within typographical border, Altera pars with letterpress and engraved architectural title with vases of flower to the sides and explanatory text to plates I and II on verso, large historiated, white on black and floriated woodcut initials in explanatory text in Altera pars, ink ownership inscription on plate 7 in part II, “Watts Gardener to his Majesty,” most probably Richard Watts, gardener to Prince George of Denmark at Camden House, St. James’s Palace and Windsor, c. 1700 – 1703, monogram in red crayon on title. Light age yellowing, some light soiling and creasing, small tear in lower blank margin of plate 16 in book two just entering plate, a few very short marginal nicks and chips, early ink pen trials to a couple of plates, mostly confined to margins but some into plate area, plates in parts I-II numbered in ink manuscript both in margins and within plate. A lovely copy with the plates in very fine, rich, and detailed impressions remarkably preserved in contemporary English limp vellum, contained in a modern morocco-backed box by Laurenchet, rubbed, and a bit soiled and creased.

The very rare first English edition of the wonderfully illustrated Hortus Floridus, complete with the rare addition of the Altera pars, and all the plates called for in the contents; it “was without question the most popular florilegium ever published,” An Oak Spring Flora. The first edition appeared in 1614 in Latin and proved so popular that it was almost immediately followed by French, Dutch, and English editions. The introduction is enlarged with details on how to colour the plates. One of the earliest florilegia, the Hortus Floridus contains very fine realistic and delicate prints created by Crispin van de Passe, a member of a famous family of Dutch artists.

The book is divided into four sections, each corresponding with one of the seasons and prefaced with an engraving of a model garden. Most of the flowers shown are tulips, hyacinths, crocuses and other bulb plants, the new enthusiasm of the increasingly prosperous Dutch citizenry. Van de Passe’s work both documented and stimulated the Dutch passion for bulbs, which eventually led to the ‘tulipomania’ of 1636 – 1637, when speculation in tulip bulbs led to a financial crash.

Unlike earlier botanical works in which the plants were shown by themselves, van de Passe placed his specimens in a natural environment, often accompanied by insects and animals that provide a narrative element to the images. The ground level perspective of the illustrations reflects the tradition of Dutch landscape painting, characterized by atmospheric and panoramic views of the flat Dutch landscape set against a low horizon, and dominated by a vast and expansive sky. The first four parts include 106 plates by Crispin De Passe, the flowers being classified per season rather than per species.

“The plates are landscapes in miniature, embellished with animals and insects, and with the plants shown growing from the ground with a vigorous naturalism. The emphasis of the publication is on the common garden flowers, with a preponderance of spring bulbs.” Gill Saunders.

These engravings cannot be seen as solely botanical illustrations, as they also echo the artistic grammar of contemporary Flemish and Dutch painting. The following fifth part includes 61 plates featuring 120 numbered fruit trees and medical plants. According to Franken, these last series were executed by a German engraver rather than by a member of the De Passe family. The quality of the engraving is exceptionally fine and delicate and where they are preserved in fine impressions, as here, are masterpieces of horticultural art.

“By uniting scientific illustration and the genre of the still-life in Hortus Floridus, van de Passe made available a precious repertory of floral images for artists such as van der Ast, Ambrosius Bosschaert and Roelandt Savery. Some of the plates of single flowers were copied for other botanical works.” Oak Spring Flora, 12. A wonderful copy, with the plates in very fine impression, of the exceptionally rare English edition in contemporary limp vellum.

STC 19459. ESTC S110319. Oak Spring Flora, 12 .Saunders, Picturing Plants, 36-37; Nissen BBI 1494. Hunt 199; Savage, ‘The Hortus Floridus’, Transactions of the Bibliographical Society, Second Series, vol. IV, (1923) pp.181-205.


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FIRENS, Pierre (Ed.)


Figures of Holy Monks Hermits.

Paris, Pierre Firens, c. 1600.


Large 8vo., 48 numbered fine engraved plates by Pierre Firens I, detached fictitious title engraved about 1800; light small damp stain occasionally in lower margins. A very good copy in seventeenth-century speckled calf, contemporary gilt French title on morocco label on spine, raised and gilt bands; all edges red, original marbled endpapers; skilfully restored at joints and spine extremities; red library stamp of the French Confraternity of Fra’ Beato Angelico on front fly and verso of three plates.

An extremely rare set of fine religious engravings. Pierre Firens (c. 1580 – 1638), Flemish engraver and publisher, trained in Antwerp, moved to Paris at the beginning of the seventeenth century and was subsequently naturalised as French. Amongst his achievements were two royal portraits of Henry IV and Louis XIII, as well as some religious popular prints after old masters, including Rubens’ St. Anne. This unique collection was put together by borrowing from a vaster series published by the Sadeler brothers, Maerten de Vos and Jan van Londerseel during the last quarter of the sixteenth century, from which the Latin labels are also drawn. The plates, here in a superb and very neat impression, are often reversed and focused on the hermit saint, leaving out part of the original background. The influence of Durer and more so of Golztius models is very strong.

Among the many figures illustrated worth mentioning are Jesus as the prototype of anchorites when he fasted for forty days in the Judean desert resisting Satan’s temptations; the early fourth-century Saint Paul of Thebes, the first Christian hermit, dressed, as usual, in palm leaves; the Benedictine St. Andrew Zorard, who prayed and meditated all day in a narrow cavern, sitting dangerously surrounded by chains, prongs and swinging stones; St. Alphege, Archbishop of Canterbury (953-1012), and another popular English saint, Jodocus of Brittany (600–668). Occasionally, the holy men are tempted and tormented by little devils. An interesting and attractive work in the history of iconography.

The collection was bound in early France. In the nineteenth century, an unscrupulous owner commissioned a fictitious engraved title page, which includes Firens’ signature and the inventively anachronistic imprint: Lyon, rue de S. Jacques at the Guardian Angel, 1572.

Excessively rare. No recorded copies in the US or elsewhere.

Not in Berlin cat. nor MET, BM and V&A online cat. On Firens: Benezit, IV, 377; Nagler, IV, 2953.


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Bonorum et Malorum Consensio: The Knowledge of Good and Evil. The Story of the Family of Seth

Antwerp, np, 1586.


15 intaglio engravings on thick laid paper, based on images from Genesis, mainly after drawings by Maarten de Vos. Slightly dusty in borders, a couple of small wormholes affecting blank margin only. Engravings measure 276×210 mm, sheets 245×335 mm. Explanation below each scene in a clear italic. A very good, uncropped copy in contemporary sheep, a little worn, rebacked.


Central architectural title. On the left, the skeleton of Eve, sitting in contemplation of the fruit of the tree of knowledge against a backdrop of farming implements, on the right, the skeleton of Adam, holding scroll proclaiming ‘You are dust and unto dust you shall return’ against a background of carpentry tools. At the foot, two horns of plenty and an hourglass. Above, a shepherd and lady, supporting the large coat of arms of the Archduke Ferdinand of Tyrol (Cécile van den Berge-Pantens, in correspondence), with animals behind.

Bartsch 7001.029 S2


Against an agricultural backdrop, showing flocks grazing, a cabbage plantation, and a bustling dovecot, Adam, heavily laden with fruits of the field returns home to Eve and his family, in the foreground a pond with lilypads and ducklings.

Bartsch 7001.030 S2


Seth, assisted by his son, cuts firewood, against an increasingly domesticated backdrop. In the foreground can be seen the rudiments of a fishery.

Bartsch 7001.031 | Nagler 1835-52, no. 20 | Le Blanc, no. 40 | Wurzbach, no. 9.3 | Hollstein 1980, vol. 21, no. 31 | Edquist, p. 10, no. 14a.


In the foreground a familial colloquium in a woodland grove, showing Enoch’s descendants with their wives and children, their city behind.

Bartsch 7001.032 | Nagler 1835-52, no. 20 | Le Blanc, no. 40 | Wurzbach, no. 9.4 | Hollstein 1980, vol. 21, no. 32 | Edquist, p. 10, no. 14b.


A scene of domestic bliss, with the family at prayer before their fine house. Behind, another family, including a crippled man on crutches, come asking for alms. After a lost drawing by Maarten de Vos. | This painting served as the model for Jacob Bouttat’s Enoch y su Familia comiendo, a painting in the Museo de Navarra, Pamplona.

Bartsch 7001.033 | Nagler 1835-52, no. 20 | Le Blanc, no. 40 | Wurzbach, no. 9.5 | Hollstein 1980, vol. 21, no. 33 | Edquist, p. 11, no. 15a | Gonzalez de Zarate, p. 272.


Quasi-immortal Methuselah leans on his staff, overseeing his farm, where his relatives thresh corn, churn butter, milk cows and drive a team.

Bartsch 7001.034 | Nagler 1835-52, no. 20 | Le Blanc, no. 40 | Wurzbach, no. 9.6 | Hollstein 1980, vol. 21, no. 34 | Edquist, p. 11, no. 15b.


Adam’s body is laid to rest in a cave lit by oil-lamps, against a backdrop of mourners carrying essential oils, burning torches and fragrant reeds.

Bartsch 7001.035 | Nagler 1835-52, no. 20 | Le Blanc, no. 40 | Wurzbach, no. 9.7 | Hollstein 1980, vol. 21, no. 35 | Edquist, p. 12, no. 16a.


A stone city rises in the background, interspersed by cavorting couples, dancers and feasting. Lamech, resting from his labours, watches his son at play.

Bartsch 7001.036 | Nagler 1835-52, no. 20 | Le Blanc, no. 40 | Wurzbach, no. 9.8 | Hollstein 1980, vol. 21, no. 36 | Edquist, p. 12, no. 16b.


A lustful an riotous symposium, all pretence of work foresaken in the name of pleasure. A harbinger lurks in the background though: a divine vision.

Bartsch 7001.037 | Nagler 1835-52, no. 20 | Le Blanc, no. 40 | Wurzbach, no. 9.9 | Hollstein 1980, vol. 21, no. 37 | Edquist, p. 13, no. 17a | Piccin, no. 25.


Rape and pillage. A money chest falls to the ground, spilling its contents far and wide. Arsonists run amok, even the animals are hijacked. God looks on from heaven.

Bartsch 7001.038 | Nagler 1835-52, no. 20 | Le Blanc, no. 40 | Wurzbach, no. 9.10 | Hollstein 1980, vol. 21, no. 38 | Edquist, p. 13, no. 17b | Piccin, no. 26.


Enough is enough. God appears to Noah in a vision, Noah reveres on one knee. Behind him scenes of violence and debauchery.

Bartsch 7001.039 | Nagler 1835-52, no. 20 | Le Blanc, no. 40 | Wurzbach, no. 9.11 | Hollstein 1980, vol. 21, no. 39 | Edquist, p. 14, no. 18a.


A scene of frenzied activity, with Noah and sons building the structure of a fine wooden ark. In the background, a heron in its nest indicates new beginnings, and the storm clouds gather.

Bartsch 7001.040 S2 | Hollstein 1980, vol. 21, no. 40 | Wurzbach, no. 9.12 | Edquist, p. 14, no. 18b.


Merry-making continues in the background, seemingly oblivious to the crowds of animals making haste to the ark, two by two. In a cloud above, God selects birds. Meanwhile, Noah and co. load up with provisions.

Bartsch 7001.041 | Nagler 1835-52, no. 20 | Le Blanc, no. 40 | Wurzbach, no. 9.13 | Hollstein 1980, vol. 21, no. 41 | Edquist, p. 15, no. 19a | Piccin, no. 27.


Rain falls in sheets, and the flood rapidly rises, sweeping away all in its path. A few of the figures have allegorical connotations – in the foreground a Europa-esque figure rides a bull, thus by their deaths representing the end of sin, while on the right a Virgin-like mother prays over her child, reinforcing the message of Christ dying for us. The animals left behind, the innocent victims, run for cover. In the background, the ark stands firm.

Bartsch 7001.042 | Nagler 1835-52, no. 20 | Le Blanc, no. 40 | Wurzbach, no. 9.14 | Hollstein 1980, vol. 21, no. 42 | Edquist, p. 15, no. 19b.


Beneath a stormy sky just beginning to be penetrated by sunlight, the ark floats seemingly immovable, while the tumultuous sea around it seethes with bodies and mighty fish.

Bartsch 7001.043 | Nagler 1835-52, no. 20 | Le Blanc, no. 40 | Wurzbach, no. 9.15 | Hollstein 1980, vol. 21, no. 43 | Edquist, p. 15, no. 20 | Piccin, no. 28.

The Sadeler family were the largest, and probably the most successful of the dynasties of Flemish engravers dominant in North European printmaking in the later 16th and 17th centuries. Their distinctive technique enabled them to collaborate internally over many projects. Johan, aka Jan Sadeler (1550-1600) was the eldest of the dynasty. Connected professionally with Christopher Plantin, he came into contact both with the Dutch Reform Church, and Maarten de Vos with whom he collaborated for many years. Sadeler’s manner of engraving ‘owes much to the Antwerp school’ (Limouze).


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