27 November 2008
EXTER, Alexandra (1882-1949) and François VILLON (c.1431-1463). Illustrated manuscript of Villon's Les Lais, Paris, 1 November, 1942.
1 vol., 2° (334 x 252mm). 30 leaves, including 7 full-page gouaches by Exter on Régis L. Bourdillon paper, calligraphy in black, red and blue ink by Guido Colluci, signed in the colophon by Exter and Colluci. Contemporary calf by Gruel, sides tooled in blind with a saltire and a semé of circle and diamond tools, spine titled in gilt (extremities lightly rubbed).
WITH SEVEN ORIGINAL GOUACHES BY ALEXANDRA EXTER. Exter, an avid reader, was keen to illustrate those books she liked most. She had collaborated with Colluci for their manuscript of André Gide's Traité du Narcisse, and Lydia Cabrera's Chant Nègre and, also in 1942, Horace's Odes à Bacchus. Villon's Lais, forms part of his Testaments, a poetical work of outstanding quality and innovation, which introduced new themes and vigour to Medieval literature. The colophon mentions 20 examples, this one numbered 4, but it is possible that fewer were made: ABPC records no copy selling at auction in 25 years.
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