Life of Bernard Palissy

Henry MORLEY   |   Bernard PALISSY

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Item#: 80039 price:$650.00

Life of Bernard Palissy
Life of Bernard Palissy
Life of Bernard Palissy


(PALISSY, Bernard) MORLEY, Henry. The Life of Bernard Palissy, of Saintes, His Labours and Discoveries in Art and Science; with an Outline of His Philosophical Doctrines, and a Translation of Illustrative Selections from his Works. London: Chapman and Hall, 1852. Two volumes. Octavo, contemporary dark brown morocco, raised bands, marbled endpapers, all edges gilt. $650.

First edition of this biography of the famous French potter and scientist, Bernard Palissy, handsomely bound by Bedford.

Famous 15th-century French potter Bernard Palissy was one of the most talented craftsmen of his day. Although he had many accomplishments, he was perhaps best known for struggling for 16 years to imitate Chinese porcelain, succeeding in creating a wholly unique variety of French pottery that was rustic but appealed greatly to people who were accustomed to peasant pottery. In fact, in the 19th century, Minton’s produced a line of Victorian majolica inspired by it that they showed at the 1851 Great Exhibition and called Palissy ware. As Palissy moved away from his attempts to emulate the Chinese, he found favor with the courts of Europe, including the Medicis, and even branched out into metalwork. However, ultimately, Palissy made his greatest strides in science. He had an interest in natural history and held lectures on the topic for rather large admission fees. He had developed novel ideas on springs and underground waters. Most importantly, though, he was among the first to correctly hypothesize the origin of fossils. Unfortunately, his political beliefs (which he had held since youth) led to him being thrown into the Bastille in 1588. Though Henry III offered him his freedom if he would recant, Palissy refused and died there. Armorial bookplates of Welbeck Abbey, longtime residence of the Dukes of Portland.

Shallow marker stain to bottom edge of Volume 2, only slight rubbing to bindings. A handsome copy in very nearly fine condition.

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