London, South Kensington
28 November 2011
ANEAU Barthélémy (c. 1500-1565). Picta Poesis. Lyon: Mathias Bonhome for Louis and Charles Pesnot, 1564. 16° (110 x 70mm). Woodcut title device, colophon within cartouche. 106 metalcut emblems, most after Pierre Eskrich. (Some light waterstaining in bottom half of page, occasional heavier stains to text, top margins shaved with loss of some headlines and pagination, two wormholes in bottom margin.) 18th-century mottled calf, covers with triple gilt fillets, spine gilt with red morocco label, marbled endpapers, red edges (spine restored). Provenance: early shelf-marks -- Saint-Julien Royaucourt (19th-century label).
Third edition, issue dated 1564 rather than 1563, following the earlier editions of 1552 and 1556. The emblems, formerly attributed to Bernard Salomon, include a very early illustration of tennis (37 x 49mm) on p. 79. Spectators watch from the side-penthouse gallery, and the tennis net -- no more than a rope across the court -- is included in the picture for the first time. The accompanying Latin poem, 'Magnus Labor Cassus' ('Great Labour in Vain'), is not entirely disapproving. Tennis benefits the different parts of the body through exercise, it stimulates happy emotions and dissipates anger, but the sweat produced has little end result and the hard work achieves nothing substantial. Baudrier calls the emblems and text 'très libres' for a work dedicated to a bishop. AN ATTRACTIVE COPY OF THIS POCKET EDITION. Brunet IV, 634; Landwehr Romanic 116; Murray French Books II, 611; Praz p. 10; cf. Baudrier X, p. 227; Mortimer/Harvard French 25; not in Whitman.
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