DIODORUS Siculus (fl. 60-30 B.C.). Bibliothecae historicae libri XVII. Lyons: heirs of Sebastien Gryphe, 1559.
16° (120 x 75mm). Woodcut printer's device [Baudrier 2bis] on title. Woodcut initials. Ruled throughout in red. (Variable light browning, light staining on some leaves.)
BINDING: contemporary Parisian gold-tooled and painted calf by the Royal binder, Claude de Picques, hatched cornerpieces and large central cartouche painted green, black and white, between them small painted open tools and gouges, in the centre of the cartouche the arms of Jacques de Malenfant [Olivier 1000], surrounded by name and motto lettered in Greek, elaborately gauffered, painted and gilt edges (decorated morocco spine new, edges restored); modern brown cloth solander box. A. de Ruble, Notice des principaux livres, manuscrits et imprimés qui ont fait partie de l'exposition de l'art ancien au Trocadéro, Paris, 1879, no. 212A; R.A. Hobson, French and Italian no. 22, note 1, no. 6; Hobson/Culot2 57A; Musea Nostra, p. 34.
PROVENANCE: Jacques de Malenfant, seigneur de Preyssac (binding, quotation from Horace 'Paulu[m] sepultae distat inertiae , Celata virtus', signed 'Pressac' on flyleaf) -- marquis d'Aligre (armorial bookplate) -- Ambroise Firmin-Didot (bookplate and note about Malenfant on front free endpaper; sale Paris, 9-15 June 1881, part III, lot 493) -- Robert Hoe (gilt morocco bookplate; sale, New York, 8-12 January 1912, part II, lot 213) -- [Th. Belin, Paris bookseller, catalogue, 1914, no. 114, pl. 56].
ONE OF A HIGHLY INTERESTING GROUP OF SMALL BINDINGS, SECURELY ATTRIBUTED TO CLAUDE DE PICQUES AND EXECUTED FOR A PATRON FROM TOULOUSE. Jacques de Malenfant (fl.1546-1570) was born in Toulouse, probably the son Persac. He was one of the almoners of Marguerite d'Angoulême, Queen of Navarre and sister of François I; in 1546 she sent Malenfant to Paris to continue his studies, and he possibly remained in or returned to the city in 1565, when he published a poem on the death of Adrien Turnèbe. The inscription in his Erasmus (lot 59) confirms that he was still in Paris in 1567. By 1570 he had returned to Toulouse.
Malenfant may have been a friend of the noted bibliophile Thomas Mahieu, who owned books bound by Claude de Picques' predecessor as Royal binder (Hobson/Culot2 cite a volume in Toulouse bearing Mahieu's monogram on the binding with Malenfant's ownership inscription on the pastedown), and his library, of which upwards of thirty volumes are known, is composed of works by both classical and contemporary authors, inscribed in the owner's neat humanistic hand with his name, and often with a quotation from a classical author in either Greek or Latin (as here and lots 55 and 59). The tools used on the elaborately gilt and brightly painted bindings that cover the small-format volumes (such as this and lot 55) are convincingly attributed to the royal binder Claude de Picques by Foot (Davis Gift I, 12). Now that bindings of the 1540s and 1550s formerly attributed to Picques must be given to Jean Picard and the Royal binder Gommar Estienne, the opportunities of acquiring a genuine, highly decorated binding by Claude de Picques for an identified patron have become rather fewer. Adams D-474 (noting that this edition is a page-for-page reprint of the 1552 Gryphius edition); Baudrier VIII, p. 292.