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La Fontaine J[ean] de

Published by Paris Chez Desaint & Saillant [et] Durand, De l Imprimerie de Charles-Antoine Jombert 1755-1759 (1759)

First Edition

Quantity Available: 1

From: Buddenbrooks, Inc. (Newburyport, MA, U.S.A.)

Seller Rating: 5-star rating

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About this Item: Paris Chez Desaint & Saillant [et] Durand, De l Imprimerie de Charles-Antoine Jombert 1755-1759, 1759. 4 volumes. First edition, first issue of this extraordinary work, considered to be one of the finest illustrated books ever produced in France, and considered by Ray to be "one of the most ambitious and successful of all illustrated books. The plate entitled "Le Singe et le Léopard" is first issue and is without lettering in the banner. Engraved frontispiece, and with the engraved portrait Oudry by Tardieu after de Largillière included in only some copies, and 275 engraved plates after Jean-Baptiste Oudry by Cochin, Tardieu, Prévost, Chedel Lempereur and others. As well, there are over 200 very finely engraved vignettes, head- and tail-pieces by Lesueur after Bachelier. Large folio, 15 3/4 x 11 inches, bound in very handsome contemporary full motteled calf, the boards framed with gilt double-ruled lines, the spine with wide bands creating gilt framed compartments, each double-gilt ruled and decorated in a floral motif including large central gilt flowers, two compartments with contrasting red and brown morocco labels gilt lettered, endpapers marbled and a.e.g. Vol. I: [4], xxx, xvii, 124pp. 70 plates, frontispiece engraving, portrait engraving of Oudry; Vol. II: [4], ii, 135pp. 68 plates; Vol. III: [4], 146 pp. 68 plates; Vol. IV: [4], ii, 188 pp. 69 plates A fine and handsome set, very well preserved with only light evidence of use or age, confined primarily to the extremities, the tips and hinges with some very sympathetic, expert and unobtrusive refurbishment. The plates and text-blocks generally very clean and fresh. Occasionally a bit of the toning typical to the work. RARE FIRST EDITION, FIRST ISSUE OF WHAT IS GENERALLY CONSIDERED TO BE ONE OF THE GREATEST FRENCH BOOKS OF ALL TIME AND ONE OF THE FINEST ILLUSTRATED BOOKS EVER TO BE PRODUCED, ONE OF THE MOST AMBITIOUS AND SUCCESSFUL EVER PRODUCED, AND THE ZENITH OF THE 18TH CENTURY DECORATED BOOK IN FRANCE. THE FABLES of La Fontaine are known universally and exhibit the versatility and fecundity of the author's talent more fully than any of his other work. For his edition of THE FABLES, La Fontaine, the great French poet took inspiration from Aesop, Horace, Boccaccio and Ariosto and Tasso, Machiavelli's comedies, and Eastern stories that in his epoch were transmitted through translations from the Persian. The boldness of the politics is as much to be considered as the ingenuity of the moralizing, as the intimate knowledge of human nature displayed in the substance of the narratives, or as the artistic mastery shown in their form. Perhaps the best criticism ever passed upon La Fontaine's FABLES is that of Silvestre de Sacy, to the effect that they supply delights to three different ages: the child rejoices in the freshness and vividness of the story, the eager student of literature in the consummate art with which it is told, the experienced man of the world in the subtle reflections on character and life which it conveys. Nor has any one, with the exception of a few paradoxers.denied that the moral tone of the whole is as fresh and healthy as its literary interest is vivid. The book has therefore naturally become a standard French reader both at home and abroad. It is no small testimony to its merit that not even this use (or misuse) has interfered with its popularity. Oudry, (1686 - 1755) was one of the most famous artists of France. His artwork, designed for La Fontaine s FABLES, the most famous production of the great French author is considered the most masterful interpretation of the most famous fabulist. He served both Louis XV and Louis Fagon (1680-1744), an Intendant des Finances and book collector. Oudry decorated his houses in Vanves and Fontenay-aux-Roses with arabesques, flowers and birds. Fagon was charged with reviving the fortunes of the tapestry manufactory of Beauvais, which had flourished under Colbert, and he gave the task to Oudry and his associate, Besnier, in 1734. Oudry succeeded in his tasks, becoming wealthy in the process. His success at Beauvais. Seller Inventory # 25720

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