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Recueil des effigies des Roys de France, avec un brief sommaire des généalogies, faits et gestes d’iceux. Paris: François Desprez,[1567].

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Recueil des effigies des Roys de France, avec un brief sommaire des généalogies, faits et gestes d’iceux. Paris: François Desprez,[1567].

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Recueil des effigies des Roys de France, avec un brief sommaire des généalogies, faits et gestes d’iceux. Paris: François Desprez,[1567].

4° (238 x 173mm). Title with woodcut arms of Charles IX supported by the figures of Piety and Justice, 62 three-quarter-page woodcut portraits showing the line of French kings, a different cut of the figures of Piety and Justice on penultimate leaf, each leaf including the title framed by one of six woodcut borders. (Title and early leaves restored at margins and sometimes edges of border, H1 with closed tear through border and small area of portrait, Q1 with marginal repair, margins cut close, a few leaves shorter than others at foremargin.) Red morocco janseniste by Bellevallée, spine compartments with raised bands, gilt turn-ins and board edges. Provenance: contemporary marginalia.

FIRST AND ONLY EDITION. AN EXTREMELY RARE AND REMARKABLE SERIES OF 62 FULL-PAGE HEAD AND SHOULDER WOODCUT PORTRAITS OF THE KINGS OF FRANCE, FROM PHARAMOND TO CHARLES IX.

'The first two portraits, as well as those of François I and Henry II are rendered with a true mastery' (Brun). The title is decorated with the arms of Charles IX with the allegories of Piety and of Justice. All the pages are placed within elaborate woodcut frames. These frames, of which there are six forms, are decorated with scrolls, stags, swans etc. Each one possesses a cartouche used for the printing of a legend or a small label with the date of printing, 1567, or also a little woodcut illustrating a river or a spring. Mortimer suggests the date 1567 as the year of publication, taken from the title vignette, 'interpreted as publication date since it is not an integral part of the border and is placed at the end of the table of contents and at the end of the volume. This edition was shared between the Parisian printer François Desprez and the engraver from Lyons Raullant de Neufchatel. The illustrations clearly belong to Raullant de Neufchatel; according to Baudrier nothing is known of Raullant except this imprint, and he may have been publisher, artist, or author of the work. Baudrier and others describe the Paris and Lyons volumes as two editions, but comparison of this copy with the Baudrier reproduction of the title-page and leaf Q4v of the Lyons edition suggests that these are two issues of the same edition. The only difference in the title is the addition of a comma'. His Parisian associate François Desprez is famous for his authorship of the Recueil de la diversité des Habits (1562), printed in civilité types.

A FINE COPY OF THIS RARE BOOK: no auction record on either ABPC or RBH.

Mortimer, Harvard French 454; Brun p. 281; see Didot, Catalogue de Livres anciens rares et précieux, Paris 1910, lot 112 ('Livre important au point de vue iconographique et fort rare'. Binding by Lortic). Not in the Fairfax Murray or Rothschild collections.

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