WITH 184 BEAUTIFULLY HAND-COLORED FOLIO ENGRAVINGS OF FRENCH COSTUME, ARMS, INSTRUMENTS, FURNISHINGS AND ARCHITECTURAL DETAILS
WILLEMIN, Nicholas Xavier and POTTIER, André. Monuments Français Inédits, Pour Servir a l'Histoire des Arts. Paris: Chez Mlle Willemin, 1839. Two volumes. Folio (11 by 17 inches), contemporary three-quarter crimson morocco gilt rebacked and recornered with original spines laid down, raised bands, marbled boards and endpapers, uncut. $6000.
First edition of this wonderful collection of masterpieces of French decorative arts culled from early medieval to late Renaissance—costumes, weapons, musical instruments, furniture, furnishings, stained glass, interior and exterior architectural details—with 300 intricately detailed folio engraved plates, 184 of them with brilliant and delicate hand-coloring.
Willemin was the first to provide such accurate illustrations of French mediaeval decorative art and his finely engraved and colored plates both reflected and influenced contemporary taste. His survey includes church and state regalia and monuments, as well as private costumes, furnishings, and decorations. This "intriguing" and ambitious work (Brunet), begun in 1806 and issued in parts, had reached its 49th part by the time of Willemin's death in 1833; it fell to his daughter to arrange the engravings of the final plates and commission the descriptive and historical text by André Pottier. The whole was published in two folio volumes in 1839; the present copy contains two additional hand-colored engraved title pages, one dated 1806, and a hand-colored vignette title page dated 1825, in addition to the two letterpress 1839 title pages. Text in French. Hiler & Hiler, 900. Colas 3086. Brunet, 1453. Armorial bookplates.
Interiors fine, plates vividly and finely hand-colored. Light wear and expert reastoration to attractive contemporary bindings. A lovely, uncut copy of this beautifully illustrated work. Scarce.