[RIVE, Jean-Joseph (1730-1791). Recueil de 20 planches enluminees pour l'Essai sur l'Art de verifier l'age des Miniatures. Paris, 1782]. 2° (515 x 333mm). 26 engraved plates, printed in sepia, all hand-coloured heightened in gold. (Occasional faint marginal spotting.) Contemporary red straight-grained morocco, covers panelled in gilt with an outer frame composed of a dogtooth roll and double-fillet enclosing a foliate roll within oval -and-dotted chain roll with inner gilt fillet and torc scroll, the central frame composed of dogtooth roll and double-fillets sandwiching a ribbed roll with roped garlands, flower and vase ornamental cornerpieces, flat spine in eight compartments, the second bearing the title, in the others a small bird surmounting a heart surrounded by small floral device with small stars, rosettes and various dotted tools, gilt turn-ins, blue moiré endpapers (extremities lightly rubbed, endpapers somewhat crudely cut). Provenance: William Hobson (engraved armorial bookplate; sold at:) – Sotheby’s 19 June 1863, lot 279.
VERY RARE COPY IN A FINE BINDING of illuminated miniatures in 14th- and 15th-century manuscripts in the library of the Duc de La Vallière. Rive, the Duc’s librarian, issued a prospectus asking for subscribers for an edition of 80 copies. However, due to lack of interest this number was cut, Clarke stating that only 24 copies were produced. Although Thomas Astle had reproduced initials from manuscripts in colour in his The origins and progress of writing (London, 1784), this is THE FIRST WORK WITH PRINTED REPRODUCTIONS OF ILLUMINATED MINIATURES IN COLOUR. Dibdin Bibliographical Decameron I, p.xxii; Clarke Repertorium Bibliographicum I, p.59.