EXCEEDINGLY RARE FIRST EDITION OF RECUEIL HISTORIQUE, 1687, A HISTORY OF ARCHITECTURE FROM ANTIQUITY TO THE 14TH-CENTURY BY LEADING 17TH-CENTURY FRENCH SCHOLAR JEAN FRANÇOIS FÉLIBIEN
(FÉLIBIEN DES AVAUX, J[ean].F[rançois]). Recueil Historique de la Vie et des Ouvrages des Plus Célebres Architectes [Collected History of the Lives and Works of the Most Celebrated Architects]. Paris: Sebastien Mabre-Cramoisy, 1687. Quarto, contemporary full speckled brown calf, elaborately gilt-decorated spine, raised bands, burgundy morocco spine label. $1500.
First edition of this foundational early French history of architecture and architects from ancient times to 14th-century Europe by leading 17th-century French scholar Félibien des Avaux, an especially handsome wide-margined copy, most rare in contemporary calf.
This rare first edition of Félibien des Avaux’s major architectural History reflects his high esteem as one of the 17th-century’s leading architectural scholars. The son of André Felibien, who was court historian to Louis XIV of France and the first secretary of the Académy d’Architecture, Jean François Félibien here highlights defining architectural landmarks in a “collection of biographies of architects… extending from Antiquity up to the 14th century, compiled entirely from earlier literature’ (Kruft, 138). Featured are Egyptian, Babylonian and African masterpieces and craftsmen, landmarks of Greek and Roman architecture, and architectural masterworks of 13th- and 14th-century Europe. “Sebastien Cramoisy, whose device is on the title page, became the first director of the ‘Imprimerie Royale’ in 1640… The headpieces were engraved by Cornelis Vermeulen” (Fowler 119). Woodcut-engraved printer’s device to title page; Privilege du roy dated 1687. Containing woodcut-engraved chapter heading, initials, head- and tailpieces. Text in French. See Avery’s Choice 94. Kruft, 492n. Early owner signature.
Interior fine, lightest edge-wear, minor rubbing to contemporary calf. A most desirable about-fine copy.