MARTIAL D’AUVERGNE, dit de Paris (1420-1508). Les Vigilles de la mort du roy Charles septiesme. Paris: Robert Bouchier [for J. Trepperel, c. 1505-06].
Small 2o (244 x 179mm). Gothic letter in double column. 45 woodcuts, including two for one scene and repeats, Trepperel’s woodcut device on verso of final leaf. (Title with corner repair.) Red morocco gilt by Simier, ‘relieur du Roi’, covers semee with fleurs-de-lys on a cross-hatched ground, spine with raised bands, directly lettered in one compartment, the rest with smaller fleurs-de-lys in cross-hatched pattern, elaborate gilt turn-ins enclosing olive morocco doublures, gilt edges; modern red morocco case. Provenance: L. Cailhava (inscription in red ink on front blank, with sale note: ‘vendu 300f. en 1845’) — Victorien Sardou, bibliotheque de Marly (bookplate) – Bibliotheque de Mr. Renard (label) – L. Double (morocco label) – Charles Fairfax Murray (label, Davies cat. 671) — Edmee Maus (monogram label) — Roger Budin, Geneva (morocco label).
THE AUTHOR’S MOST IMPORTANT POETIC WORK, PROFUSELY ILLUSTRATED WITH 45 WOODCUTS. THE SUPERB CAILHAVA-VICTORIEN SARDOU-RENARD-DOUBLE-FAIRFAX MURRAY-EDMÉE MAUS-BUDIN COPY.
The French poet Martial d’Auvergne, also known as Martial de Paris, was a solicitor at Chatelet, and became a procurator of Parliament within 50 years. Written during the reign of Louis XI, Les Vigilles de la mort du roy Charles VII is an historical poem that
indirectly satirises the reigning sovereign by exuberantly praising the deceased prince Charles VII. The grandeur and magnificence of Charles’s life (1402-1461) are described and celebrated in detail. The 7,000 lines of the poem also cover the history of the Hundred Years’ War between France and England, including the story of Joan of Arc, which is decorated with two woodcuts, entitled: ‘Comment la pucelle vint devers le roy’ and ‘Comment les anglois amenerent la pucelle a Rouen et la firent mourir’. The majority of the woodcuts derive from previous Lyons imprints, either as copies or the blocks themselves; Davies details their provenance in Fairfax Murray French nos. 358 and 671.
Unique to this edition is the woodcut of the funeral bier of Charles VII on the title verso.
Bouchier printed the text for three different publishers: G. Eustace, D. Gerlier and J. Trepperel. The exact relationship – and precedence, if any – between them remains unclear, owing in part to the rarity of all three, but Davies observes that the Gerlier and Trepperel editions are identical other than the title-page (and verso) and final page, where the Trepperel device appears. CIBN considers it as an edition distinct from that of Eustace (HC 10800; von Arnim 361; Goff M-296).
Davies, Fairfax Murray French 671 (this copy, dated c.1510); Brunet III, 1482; CIBN M-157; Moreau I, no. 138; Tchemerzine IV, 578; H 10800; Goff M-296 (PML copy only); von Anim Schäfer 361. Molinier, Les Sources de l'histoire de France IV, no. 4138; USTC 79202.