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Illuminated Illustrations of Froissart

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(FROISSART, Jean) HUMPHREYS, Henry Noel. Illuminated Illustrations of Froissart. Selected from the MS in the British Museum. WITH: Illuminated Illustrations… Selected from the MS in the Bibliothèque Royale, Paris. London: William Smith, 1844-45. Two volumes. Imperial octavo, contemporary three-quarter green pebbled morocco gilt, raised bands, marbled boards, endpapers, flyleaves and edges.

First edition of Humphreys’ reproduction of the hand-painted illuminated illustrations from the British Museum’s and the Bibliothèque Royale’s splendid 15th-century manuscripts of Froissart’s Chronicles, with 72 vividly hand-colored plates heightened with gilt.

Henry Noel Humphreys had become deeply impressed by medieval manuscripts during an Italian tour and he returned to England with a desire to produce books in the medieval style. With the advent of chromolithography, he would become a “modern illuminator,” able to replicate the same rich tones of medieval manuscripts. “The present illuminations… will be made as near facsimiles as possible, without any attempt at correction, or alteration in the drawing, so as to show the true spirit of the Gothic artist… They are also the same size as the originals.” The manuscript in the British Museum was penned and illuminated in 1460-1480; the French manuscript most likely between 1460 and 1470—both within 100 years of the time when Froissart originally wrote his justly esteemed Chronicles.

Text clean, plates fine, with vivid hand-coloring. Contemporary bindings and text block expertly restored, gilt bright.