Woodcut head- & tail-pieces (one hand-colored in red & gold). xiv, , 152 pp. Small 8vo, orig. brown morocco (one corner a bit bumped), dentelles gilt, a.e.g. Paris: P. Daffis, 1872.
Number “1” of two copies printed on vellum; “seconde edition de la Bibliothèque Elzévirienne revue et annoté par M. Georges Duplessis.” Marolles (1600-81), abbot of Villeloin and man of letters, was the foremost print collector of 17th-century France. He began acquiring prints in 1626 and by 1644, his collecting activities governed his life. His first collection amounted to 123,400 separate prints by more than 6000 print makers, mounted in 400 large volumes and 141 smaller ones. It was acquired in the name of the King by Colbert in 1667 for 28,000 livres. This was the largest and finest collection ever formed up to that time and is today the foundation of the Bibliothèque Nationale’s Department of Prints. Immediately afterwards, Marolles formed another collection of 100,848 prints and 10,576 drawings.
This long poem serves as sort of a memoir of Marolles’ life as a collector and connoisseur. The extensive notes and index by Duplessis (pp. 97-133) provide a most useful guide to the artists and collectors of the 17th century.
A fine copy with the bookplate of Michael Tomkinson (1841-1921), carpet manufacturer and book collector (see de Ricci and ODNB).
Item ID: 6170