ROUEN 1550 -- Cest la deduction du sumptueux ordre plaisantz spectacles et magnifiques theatres dresses et exhibes par les citoiens de Rouen ville Metropolitaine du pays de Normandie, A la sacree Maiesté du Treschristian Roy de France, Henry second leur souverain Seigneur, Et à Tresillustre dame, ma Dame Katharine de Medicis, La Royne son espouze, lors de leur triumphant ioyeulx & nouvel advenement en icelle ville. Rouen: Jean Le Prest for Robert Le Hoy, Robert and Jean Du Gort, 9th December 1551.
4o (220 x 165 mm). 68 leaves including A4 blank and H5 a cancel, illustrated with 29 large woodcuts (including five double-page and four full-page), floral, criblé and historiated woodcut initials, at the end two pages of typographical musical notation of a hymn to the King sung by the five ladies seated on the chariot of Religion. Du Gort's publisher's device on title. Mid-17th-century French polished tan calf gilt, double fillet on sides, crowned cipher of Gaston, Duke of Orléans, in compartments of spine, marbled edges and pastedowns, (joints, corners and edges of binding rubbed). Provenance: several 16th-century marginal notes (a few cropped) and underlinings; Gaston-Jean-Baptiste de France, duc d'Orléans, called MONSIEUR until the death of his brother, Louis XIII (spine cipher, cf. Olivier 2560.5, and perhaps also the circular cipher stamp on the title-page and below the colophon); unidentified engraved armorial bookplate; F.-G.-A. Guyot de Villeneuve (1901 Paris sale, lot 1290); Edouard Rahir (bookplate, 1931 Paris sale, lot 507); Georges Heilbrun (sold to Gourary 1976).
FIRST EDITION, the same woodblocks reused in 1557 for Du Gort's verse description of the same event. The Rouen entry of 1-2 October 1550 was the most magnificent of HENRI II's reign. Both text and illustrations remain anonymous, the attributions of the cuts to JEAN COUSIN and JEAN GOUJON being tenuous. The woodcuts show triumphal arches and other architectural constructions, allegorical chariots, processions of kings, soldiers, horsemen (including the Dauphin), vase carriers, musicians, elephants, deities and nymphs, an elaborate river scene, and most spectacularly the reconstruction of a BRAZILIAN FOREST complete with dozens of Indians of the TUPINAMBA TRIBE, who had been specially imported to entertain the Royal couple with savage games. The feast over, most of these Brazilians died of exposure (see F. Denis, Une fête brésilienne célébrée à Rouen en 1550, Paris 1850).
CRISP COMPLETE COPY, with important Royal provenance. Alden & Landis 551/33; Borba de Moraes I:174-77; Ruggieri 250; Sabin 73458; Vinet 473; Berlin 2983; Du Colombier, Jean Goujon (1949) p. 71-73, 181. pl. LXXIV; Harvard/Mortimer French 203.