4 June 2008
BERNARD, Pierre-Joseph (1710-1775). Oeuvres .. ornées de gravures d'après les desseins de Prud'hon. Paris: P. Didot l'Aîné, 1797.
4° (307 x 226mm). 4 engraved plates before letters after Prudhon, by Prudhon, Beisson and Copia. Half-title. (Some light browning of text.) Contemporary Viennese red morocco gilt by Georg-Friedrich Krauss for Herzog Albrecht of Sachsen-Teschen, covers with Greek key pattern and floral border, spine compartments with repeated 'AS' monogram in a sunburst between raised and gilt bands painted in green, two green morocco lettering-pieces, gilt foliate turn-ins, marbled endpapers, blue silk marker, gilt edges (a few scuff marks to lower cover, corners a little rubbed). Provenance: Herzog Albrecht Kasimir August von Sachsen-Teschen (binding) -- early shelf label on front pastdown -- Francis Kettaneh (ex-libris).
THE SACHSEN-TESCHEN COPY, ONE OF 150 ON PAPIER VéLIN with proof plates 'avant la lettre' (though in this copy lettering is faintly visible on two plates). Three of the plates after Pierre-Paul Prud'hon (1758-1823) illustrate L'art d'aimer. His own erotically-charged engraving for Phrosine et Mélidore is thought to be the only engraving indisputably made by the French master. In Ray's opinion: 'No rococo design surpasses this in voluptuousness, and Prud'hon has given his scene an air of mystery to which the artists of the previous age did not aspire'. Only copies with plates before letters contained Castor et Pollux, Bernard's 'tragédie lyrique'. Brunet I, 795; Cohen/de Ricci 133: 'très recherchés maintenant pour les belles figures de Prudhon'; Ray, French, 75.
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