Title: La grande danse macabre des Hommes et des ...
Publisher: Jean-Antoine Garnier , Troyes
Publication Date: 1728
Book Condition: Very Good+
Edition: First Edition.
4to (218 x 169 mm). 76pp. 60 mostly large and half-page woodcut illustrations of the ‘Dance of Death,’ including the large woodcut on title, repeated in the first series, a large woodcut of a dead man rising from his coffin at the cemetery on title verso, and a large woodcut of the author at the head of the second series. Original blue printed wrappers in a checkered design, a few sheets unopened; cloth folding case; (some minor marginal wear and browning, paper somewhat soft and worn at edges, but remarkably solid for surviving 285 years). 19th-century armorial bookplate of collector G. Wüthrich on front pastedown. This chapbook was at once in the collection of G. Hyatt Mayor (1901-1980), art historian and curator of the Prints Department at the Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York, it was acquired from Lathrop C. Harper in 1980. Wonderful survival of this first edition ‘Danse Macabre’ French chapbook of 1728 in its original decorative wrappers. Extraordinarily rare first edition Danse Macabre French chapbook in its original decorated wrappers, which was to be sold street side by peddlers and at markets. The classic pictures and verse dialogue of the Danse Macabre was one of the most popular illustrated books in Europe since the Middle Ages. Jean-Antoine Garnier’s edition at Troyes had been textually revised but is still based solidly on Marchant’s original work of 1486, and makes use of its woodcut designs that were originally engraved about 1480 although later editions made differences in the opening designs. Issued as a chapbook, the "Marchant," depicts people from every level of medieval society meeting their fate, and Death itself is depicted as a cheerful cadaver. Rather than being frightening, the images are jubilant. The chapbook ends with allegorical poems on the universal themes of life, death, and the afterlife. Visual depictions of Danse Macabre date from the early 15th century and are typical of the pessimistic attitudes of those living in the late medieval period, many of which experienced recurring famine, war and disease during the preceding century. Fairfax Murray French 108. Bookseller Inventory # D7813
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