GILLES, Nicolas. Annales et croniques de France depuis la destruction de Troyes iusques au temps du Roy Louys onziesme, iadis composées par feu maistre Nicole Gilles, en son vivant Secrettaire, Iudiciaire du Roy, & Controlleur en son Tresor. Paris: Guillaume le Noir, 1562.
2 volumes in one, 2° (332 x 205mm). Ruled in red throughout. Wood-engraved device on titles and repeated on &6r, illustrations in the text, six of which full-page, head- and tailpieces and initials. Title remargined with a few letters in facsimile, GG3 defective and torn, a few leaves with lower margins torn away and a few short marginal tears to others just into text, variable light spotting, soiling and browning, the textblock sometime restitched.) Contemporary brown morocco, gilt covers with thin outer border of a foliate roll between fillets, enclosing large scrolls formed by finely-tooled threads with terminal and stem azure leaf decoration, all built around an Ottoman-style central fleuron with a scalloped double-fillet border with crescents at top and bottom surrounding numerous intertwined floral tools around three interlocking crescents, very small cartouche bearing the date of 1562 repeated twice, gilt spine with the same tools repeated, gilt edges (expertly restored, very small patch on upper cover, lacking ties), modern morocco-backed box. Provenance: E. Bouchet (ink ownership inscription dated 1649) -- Marie Parly (early ink ownership inscription) -- comte de Lignerolles (III, 1894, no. 2492) -- Hachette (1953, no. 66) -- Oger & Camper, 20 December 2001, lot 85.
ENLARGED EDITION OF THESE FRENCH HISTORICAL CHRONICLES, PUBLISHED FOR THE FIRST TIME IN 1525 BY VÉRARD, IN AN EXCEPTIONAL PARIS BINDING, DATED AND ELABORATELY TOOLED BY CLAUDE DE PICQUES, BINDER TO THE KING.
Claude de Picques succeeded Gommar Estienne at the Royal bindery and continued to use a number of the same tools. Among these was the emblematic tool of Henri II at the centre of the present binding, used here as decoration and not as a mark of ownership. French bindings tooled with a date are rare. In addition to this example are three in the department of manuscripts at the BnF dated 1556 and one at the Bibliothèque Sainte-Geneviève dated 1559.