HERALDIC TREATISE AND ARMORIAL, in French, DECORATED MANUSCRIPT ON PAPER
[?Rouen, mid- and late-17th century]295 x 163 mm. iii + 432 + iii leaves: gatherings mostly of 12 or 14, first gathering lacking first two leaves, original foliation ff.1-342 beginning on leaf 83, composite manuscript with the first section ending on f.342, the second section comprising the final 32 leaves, written in brown and black inks in 17th-century hands, numerous coats of arms on rectos only in full colours with yellow for or and white for argent, 168 illustrating the treatise, four to a page, 865 in the main armorial, full-page or two or four to a page, 161 in the final section six to a page (three shields incomplete ff.19-21, damp staining to tops of folios into opening text but not into coats of arms from first leaf to f.250, two leaves in final section trimmed at sides, ff.253-255 with sections missing into one shield, ff.20 and 50 with tear into shield, margins eroded into text first and third leaves, f.217 with tear to lower margin, some lifting of blues in final section). 19th-century brown leather stamped in blind with two metal clasps on leather thongs (one clasp detached, kept with volume, extremities rubbed, joints splitting).
1. Both parts of the volume were probably produced in Rouen or its vicinity. In the main armorial the arms of Rouen, followed by those of the duchy of Normandy, come immediately after those of the King, Louis XIII or Louis XIV, and of the kingdom of Spain for Louis XIII's Queen, Anne of Austria, and before those of other members of the royal family. The artist was presumably a professional painter since the arms of the painters' guild take precedence over all. The final section opens with the arms of eight archbishops of Rouen, ending with Jaques Colbert, archbishop 1691-1707, and followed by the arms of the canons.
2. Small oval bookplate on 27th and 71st leaves and f.1, with initials CRL or CLR incorporating a cross and the motto VITA SINE LITTERIS MORS EST, Life without letters is death, a tag adapted from Seneca.
3. Bookseller's description in German pasted to verso of first flyleaf, manuscript and typewritten English translation loose in volume; 380 pencilled on first leaf.
4. HSA (no shelfmark)
Heraldic treatise, dependent on Marc Vulson de la Colombière (d. 1682), Recueil de plusieurs pièces et figures d'armoiries... (Paris, 1639), much of which was recycled in his subsequent publications, imperfect, opening in the second part, ending on 20th leaf; Discours succinct des principes et fondemens de la science des armoiries et de leur blazons, 20th-25th leaves; Advertissement pour connoiste les metaux et couleurs des armoiries qui sont dans ce livre par la taille douce, 25th-26th leaves; coloured shields demonstrating colours, divisions and charges, blazoned above, 27th-70th leaves; index of the principal heraldic terms and of the armorial that follows, 71st - 80th leaves; Armorial, arms mostly of French and allied nobility, with some of other kingdoms, largely organised by rank, with sections devoted to French Cardinals, including Mazarin, elevated in 1641, to the marshalls de camp, headed by the marshal of France, Philippe de la Motte Houdancourt, in office 1642-1657, ff.1-342.
Armorial, with notes on events in 1696 and 1697, last 32 leaves, with the 30th and 31st leaves orgininally blank but now with a note dated 1841, verso of final leaf with further blazons and some pen trials.
Despite the liberal use of colour in this attractive armorial, the copyist of Marc Vulson de la Colombière carefully included the system Vulson claimed to have invented for representing heraldic colours in black and white. The armorial seems to have been compiled in the 1640s, from the ranks of those included, under Louis XIII (d.1643) or his successor. Since Louis XIV did not marry until 1660, Anne of Austria's arms as Queen Dowager and Regent could accompany those of either her husband or her son. The final section, datable to the 1690s and certainly before 1707, extends the range of the armorial to Norman ecclesiastics and lesser nobility, suitably presented with less panache than the grander shields of the main armorial.