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LA FONTAINE, Jean de (1621-95).  Fables, Paris: de l'Imprimerie de Didot l'Aîné, 1787.
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LA FONTAINE, Jean de (1621-95). Fables, Paris: de l'Imprimerie de Didot l'Aîné, 1787.

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LA FONTAINE, Jean de (1621-95). Fables, Paris: de l'Imprimerie de Didot l'Aîné, 1787.

6 volumes, 12° (132 x 76mm.), half titles, engraved frontispiece and 275 plates by Simon and Coiny after Vivier (occasional light spotting), early 19th-century green morocco gilt, Greek-key roll border on sides, flat spines gilt lettered in two compartments, the others divided by a Greek-key roll border with a central floral motif stamped in gilt, gilt inner dentelles, gilt edges (extremities lightly rubbed, occasional light scuff marks).

FIRST EDITION OF THE FABLES WITH VIVIER'S ILLUSTRATIONS, which Ray characterises as 'animated and harmonious'. It had been intended to engrave the text as well, but that was soon abandoned and the text set in type. This successful edition set a precedent for the production of small-format books with miniature plates, which was necessitated at first by economic conditions due to the Revolution but then became fashionable. Cohen-de Ricci 553-54; cf. Ray French p. 149; Rochambeau 131 (calling for 276 plates); Sander 1071. (6)
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