ANEAU, Barthélemy (1505-1561). Le description philosophale de la nature et condition des oyseaux, et de l’inclination et proprieté d’iceux avec la figure et pourtraict au naturelle. Paris: Jean Ruelle, 1571.
16° (113 x 70mm). Partly in verse. Title with woodcut historiated border, 48 woodcut illustrations, most of birds but also bats and insects. (Light staining to text on D6v, last two quires with minor stain at inner margin, E8r with small soil mark, F7-8 with marginal repairs affecting headline on F7v, F8 slightly soiled.) Hard-grained dark red morocco by Alain Devauchelle, covers with triple gilt fillet, dos à nerfs, gilt turn-ins, gilt edges.
A CHARMING ILLUSTRATED EDITION OF A RARE SELECTION OF ALMOST EMBLEMATIC BIRD MORALISING VERSE.
This lovely book also includes a bat and some insects and is illustrated with 48 woodcuts (4 repetitions). The nature of each animal is described in a short section in prose, followed by eight lines in verse presenting the typical characteristics of the species before the moral sense and meaning are explained in another eight lines printed in italics. It is true, as Brun indicates, that the illustrations of this edition were copied in the same sense as those in the Second livre de la description des Animaux contenant le Blason des oyseaux, written by Guillaume Gueroult and printed in Lyons in 1550 (cf. BnF NUMM-70827). The woodcuts which Jean Ruelle used for the present edition are the same as those in another work in this collection, Le blason et description des oiseaux printed in Rouen by Robert Massellin for the brothers Du Gort in 1554 (see lot 57). These two editions are about 20 years and many miles apart, but the use of the same woodblocks links them. As regards the text of the present edition, it is based on the one composed by Guillaume Gueroult for 1550 and resembles his other similar poetic productions. The literary beginnings of the topic and its motives may be seen in the Dits des Oiseaux, printed between 1488 and 1492. The BnF has a copy of the same edition, with the same title and the same date of 1571 (cf. Res. S-1003). However, comparison of these two copies reveals in fact the two title-pages are not identical: the BnF copy does not have the decorative frame as here, and the printer’s address is slightly different (as recorded in USTC). This small difference may perhaps be explained by the fact that Jean Ruelle had died in 1571 and his widow, who was responsible for the second issue, modified the title to change the address of the press.
Brun p. 111; Brunet suppl. I, 576; USTC no. 56403 (the text of the printer's device differs slightly in this copy); Chatelain, Livres d’emblèmes et de devises, p. 80 n° 20; Cioranescu n° 2570; Mortimer, Harvard French, n° 263; Mellot & Queval, Répertoire d’imprimeurs/libraires, p. 487 (for Jean Ruelle); Renouard, Répertoire des imprimeurs parisiens, p. 386 (for Jean Ruelle).