BOSSE, ABRAHAM (1602-1676). TRAICT DES MANIERES DE GRAVER EN TAILLE DOUCE SUR L'AIRIN. PARIS: ABRAHAM BOSSE, 1645.
8O (171 X 108 MM). COLLATION: S4 A-I4 K2. 42 LEAVES. 19 FULL-PAGE ENGRAVINGS PRINTED ON 12 LEAVES, INCLUDING 2 ADDITIONAL ENGRAVED TITLES, ENGRAVED DEDICATION LEAF, AND 16 NUMBERED ENGRAVED ILLUSTRATIONS, MOST PRINTED ON RECTOS AND VERSOS OF THE LEAVES, NUMBERS 5 AND 6 REPEATED AS USUAL. INSERTED IN THIS COPY ARE TWO ADDITIONAL FOLDING ENGRAVED PLATES, EACH 256 X 320 MM. (SEE BELOW). (LIGHT MARGINAL DISCOLORATION, SMALL DAMPSTAIN TO GUTTERS OF FIRST FEW LEAVES.) CONTEMPORARY VELLUM OVER PASTEBOARD; MODERN VELLUM-BACKED SLIPCASE.
PROVENANCE: DANIEL DUMONSTIER (1574-1645), COURT PAINTER UNDER HENRI IV (INSCRIPTION BY HIM ON TYPOGRAPHIC TITLE STATING THAT THE BOOK WAS GIVEN TO HIM BY THE AUTHOR, HIS FRIEND, TWO POEMS IN DUMONSTIER'S HAND ON FRONT FREE ENDPAPER, AND INSCRIPTION ON LOWER FREE ENDPAPER "POUR MR. DUMONSTIER", POSSIBLY IN THE AUTHOR'S HAND); AN UNKNOWN 18TH-CENTURY PROFESSIONAL OR AMATEUR ENGRAVER (4 MANUSCRIPT PAGES ON FRONT AND BACK FLYLEAVES CONTAINING SIX ITEMIZED AND PRICED RECIPES FOR VARIOUS VARNISHES, INCLUDING A "VERNIS DE MR. TARDIEU," PRESUMABLY THE ENGRAVER NICOLAS-HENRI TARDIEU (1674-1749), AND TWO "VERNIS DE MR. HERISSET," PRESUMABLY THE ENGRAVER ANTOINE HERISSET (1685-1769).
PRESENTATION COPY OF THE FIRST EDITION OF THE FIRST TREATISE ON INTAGLIO PRINTMAKING, EXTRA-ILLUSTRATED WITH TWO IMPORTANT ADDITIONAL ENGRAVINGS DEPICTING CONTEMPORARY ENGRAVING AND PRINTING PRACTICES. Bosse was a prolific engraver and author of several works on the arts of painting, drawing, and perspective. His treatise on the intaglio techniques, dedicated to "Messieurs les Amateurs" of the arts of engraving and etching, contains a lengthy and detailed series of instructions touching every aspect of engraving with a burin and etching on both hard- and soft-grounds. Several chapters are devoted to preparation of the plates and the varnishes, others cover the actual techniques of engraving and etching, and the final section is devoted to printing. Each process is illustrated with finely engraved plates by Bosse. The frequently reprinted and widely translated work was "not only the first on its subject but for more than a century it remained the standard" (Ivins, Prints & visual communication, Cambridge, 1969, p. 75).
Daniel Dumonstier, a member of the third generation of a dynasty of French artists, was a practicing engraver and portrait painter who was successively painter to the Dauphin (the future Louis XIII), to Henri IV, and to Gaston, Duc d'Orlans, the King's brother. Dumonstier was in great demand for his highly lifelike portraits, and was known for his sharp and satirical wit. His extensive collection of books, manuscripts, objets d'art, medals and natural history curiosities was renowned; part of it went to Jules Mazarin after his death, while another portion was destroyed upon orders of Anne of Austria for its reputed licentiousness. The two poems written in his hand at the front of this copy are apparently unpublished. The first, a eulogy addressed to a certain "Lafemas" is signed Gombaut, presumably the poet Jean Ogier de Gombault (ca. 1570-1666). The second poem, entitled "Amour de Gombaut sur la mort de mademoiselle de Fieubet", is a reciprocal eulogy: signed "Lafemas" [a pseudonym of Dumonstier?], it refers to Gombault's poem "Sur la mort de mademoiselle de Fieubet", published in his Posies in 1646.
The two additional plates by Bosse were almost certainly inserted in this copy by the author to enhance his gift to Dumonstier. Captioned "Graveurs en taille douce au burin et a leau forte" and "Cette figure vous montre comme on imprime les planches de taille douce", and dated 1643 and 1642 respectively, the engravings are realistic depictions of the principal activities of an engraving studio, the first showing two engravers at work with customers browsing in front of a print-covered wall in the background, and the second showing three workmen, one engaged in inking a plate, the second wiping off a plate, and the third, at center, printing on a rolling-press. Both are present in fine, dark impressions. (Cf. Blum, L'oeuvre grav de Abraham Bosse, pp. 154-156).
Bigmore and Wyman, p. 72; Blum, pp. 403-421; Brunet I, 1127; Cicognara 251; Norman 279.