FEUILLET, Raoul-Auger (1659 or 1660-1710). The Art of Dancing, demonstrated by Characters and Figures, translated by P. Siris. London: for the author, 1706.
2° (271 x 210mm). 41 numbered engraved plates, 26 double-sided. (Lacking a preliminary leaf [preface?], light browning and spotting throughout, first few page numerals shaved off.) Contemporary speckled calf (rebacked and recornered in the 19th century, joints cracked, extremities rubbed). Provenance: translator's name amended from Siris to Seris on title; 3-pages of ms quotations and notes in French and Latin on preliminary blanks.
RARE. The text interprets the plates up to no. 28. The remaining plates demonstrate the positioning in two dances, 'The Rigaudon' and 'The french Bretagne', the final plate being engraved 'Finis'. Feuillet's fame rests on his Choregraphie ou l'art de décrire la dance par caractères (Paris, 1700), a book first describing a system of dance notation that was used in Europe throughout the 18th century. Although Feuillet claimed the credit, it derived from the original work of Pierre Beauchamp, Louis XIV's personal dancing-master. 'Unlike previous methods, which describe movement verbally and use letters to refer to the sequence of steps, Feuillet's system is a track notation. It represents symbolically not only the steps of the dancer, with his turns, leaps and slides, but also the floor pattern in which he is to travel. The dance music is printed at the top of the page, and the steps are marked off in a manner corresponding to the structure of the music' (Grove). The English dancing-masters, John Weaver and P. Siris, both published translations of Choréographie in 1706. One copy of the former and 5 copies of the latter are recorded in ESTC.
Sold with Thomas Mace's Musick's Monument (London, 1676), an imperfect copy lacking D3 and all plates, P3 also holed with loss. Wing M-120. (2)