16 July 2014
SAMBUCUS, Johannes (1531-1584). Emblemata cum aliquot nummis antiqui operis. Antwerp: Christophe Plantin, 1564.
8° (186 x 121mm). Woodcut historiated title border, portrait of the author, and 167 woodcut emblems within varied borders by A. Nicolai, C. Muller and G. van Kampen after Lucas d'Heere and Pieter Huys, one showing Sambucus with his dogs, 4ll. of coins at end, interleaved throughout. (Some browning, occasional soiling and waterstaining.) Contemporary red morocco gilt, sides with central device within gilt and blind fillets, edges gilt and gauffeured. Provenance: S.A. Thompson Yates (ex libris).
FIRST EDITION OF THE FIRST ORIGINAL EMBLEM BOOK PUBLISHED BY PLANTIN. Whitman believed the emblem of a tennis game on p. 133 to be the earliest in a printed book. In fact, the tennis emblem had already appeared in Guillaume de la Perriéres's Le theatre des bons engins of 1539, and then in the Picta Poesis of Barthélémy Aneau (first edition 1552). Here, there is greater form to the rackets and dress of the players and tennis balls are shown. While the net still appears to be a simple rope, two lines of the accompanying poem, 'Temporis iactura' ('A Waste of Time'), compare the allure of tennis nets and the more useful nets used in hunting birds. Addressed 'Ad pilulam', the poem treats the ball as the deceiver of the young men who waste time chasing after it. Adams S-218; Brunet V, 104-05; Fairfax Murray German, 391; Landwehr Low Countries, 709; Praz, p. 148; Voet 2168; Whitman p.176.
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