ENTRÉE, Henri II into Rouen, 1 October 1550 -- C'est la deduction du sumptueux ordre plaisantz spectacles et magnifiques theatres. Rouen: Jean Le Prest for Robert Le Hoy and Jean Du Gort, 9 December 1551.
PRINTED ON VELLUM. 4° (217 x 161mm). Without first blank. Title with shaped text and leaf ornaments. Roman type. 29 large woodcuts, 5 of which are double-page, and two pages of printed music on staves, 43 ILLUMINATED INITIALS painted over a printed base, yellow capital strokes on title. Fo. H5 a cancel, on stub, as usual. 17th-century tan calf, double fillet border on sides, gilt spine with red leather lettering-piece, pair of vellum endleaves at each end, gilt edges (short split at lower hinge, extremities lightly scuffed, nick in front board), modern blue morocco solander case lined with red reversed leather. Provenance: ?Aneram (contemporary inscription on several leaves) -- [Ambroise Firmin-Didot (copy cited in Brunet)] -- William, Marquis of Lothian (18th-century bookplate and label, sale NY, American Art Association Anderson Galleries, 27 January 1932, lot 81, $4600).
VERY FINE COPY OF THE FIRST EDITION, THE ONLY COMPLETE COPY PRINTED ON VELLUM AND ILLUMINATED. It records the entry of Henri II and Catherine de Medicis into Rouen. The highlight of the festivities was the construction of a Brazilian village, complete with huts and hammocks and with plants and trees decorated to imitate Brazilian fauna; it is recorded here in one of the double-page woodcuts which Borba de Moraes calls 'the most perfect [representation of Brazilian Indians] in execution, as well as in its multiplicity and exactness of scenes of manners and customs' (p.176). The village was populated by about fifty Brazilian Indians then resident in the city, who had been brought to Rouen by Norman sailors. As the festivities' climax, they displayed war dances and staged a battle on the banks of the Seine between the 'Toupinabaulx' and 'Tabageres' tribes, which ended by setting fire to the huts. The Brazilians continued to be one of Rouen's attractions, and they were presented to Charles IX on his visit to the city in 1562. Montaigne witnessed the presentation and refers to it in his Essais.
The fine woodcuts depicting various participants, allegorical chariots, and theatrical events, had previously been given to Jean Cousin or Jean Goujon, but they are probably by an artist influenced by Goujon's designs for the account of the entry at Paris. The blocks were re-used in 1557 for Du Gort's verse description of the same event. Brunet records 3 vellum copies, two incomplete and one complete copy owned by A. Didot. Alden, European Americana, 551/36; Borba de Moraes I, 174-7; Brunet II, 998-999; Mortimer, Harvard French 203; Sabin 73458; Vinet 473.