GOHORY, Jacques (d.1576). Hystoria Iasonis Thessaliae Principis de Colchica velleris aurei expeditione. Paris: [published by Jean de Mauregard], 1563.
Oblong broadsheets (278 x 364mm). Title and 4 leaves of text in Latin. 26 engraved plates by René Boyvin after Léonard Thiry, each with separate caption plate below, plates 4, 9, 18, 20, 22, 23 and 25 supplied from the French-language edition with captions in French, trimmed to plate mark and window-mounted to 253 x 364mm. Each of the French plates has an inscription on the verso stating that it was purchased at Naudet (print-seller at the Louvre) in 1810. They were supplied to this copy between 1891 and 1962. All sheets with watermark of a crescent surmounted by quatrefoil with name EDMONDENISE [Briquet 5304]. Contemporary manuscript captions written on the Latin plates translating the engraved verse into French prose. Second state of all plates with numbering above; captions for plates 10-12 misnumbered 12, 10 and 11. (Lightly washed, plate 12 bound before no. 10, neat restorations only occasionally touching text or image.)
BINDING: Parisian architectural binding of c. 1563; citron morocco over pasteboard, tooled in gold with marbled on-lays forming columns, base and entablature, black staining, red and blue-grey paint, unidentified arms of an abbot surmounted by crozier and mitre at centre, flanked by large cornucopiae, motto DITAT SERVATA FIDES tooled on entablature, flat spine with bands of cablework tool, hatched quatrefoil in compartments, later endpapers with grapes (front) or 'A P' (back) watermark (a few scratches, discreet restorations at board edges and joints); modern folding green cloth case. G.D. Hobson, Maioli, p. 34, VI; Cinq siècles d'ornements, no. 37; Hobson/Culot2 55.
PROVENANCE: unidentified abbot (binding) -- De Noser (title inscription, washed) -- Hippolyte Destailleur (sale Paris, 13-25 April 1891, lot 1637) -- Louis Cartier (sale Paris, 1-2 March 1962, lot 31).
AN OUTSTANDING EXAMPLE of the very small number of Parisian High Renaissance bindings with architectural decoration. The style appears to have been introduced to France by Jean Grolier, who would have known Italian examples from his years in Milan. Mahieu had his copy of Vitruvius bound with an impression of the Pantheon. According to G.D. Hobson, elements of the design heralds bindings à la fanfare (Hobson, Fanfare, p.13).
The elaborate design of the Wittock Gohory incorporating architectural and neo-classical motifs formed with gouges, fillets, gold dotting, painting, staining and marbling, as well as hatched tools is the work of an unidentified shop. Two other copies differing in design but similar in treatment and originating from the same shop are in the Morgan Library. The original owner of none of these special copies is known. The arms on the Wittock copy have not been identified; the motto was used by Jean Loysier, abbot of Cîteaux (d.1559) and by ecclesiastics of the Briçonnet family, in-laws of Grolier.
FIRST EDITION, LATIN ISSUE. The plates are no less remarkable than the binding. Each depicts a scene illustrating the story of the Golden Fleece after designs by Léonard Thiry, an artist responsible, with Rosso Fiorentino and Francesco Primaticcio, for the murals in the gallery of François I at Fontainebleau. They are engraved by René Boyvin, an artist responsible for disseminating much of the work of Rosso and other members of the the Fontainebleau school in engraved form throughout Europe. Together with their elaborate and inventive borders, the plates form 'a major work in the Fontainebleau tradition' (Mortimer). Thiry's original drawings for the series are preserved at the University of Leiden and the Ecole des Beaux-Arts at Paris. Inspired by the decoration in the François I gallery at Fontainebleau, the plates in turn were intended to inspire future artworks. Its success as a model book, particularly for Limoges, is outlined by J.-J. Marquet de Vasselot in 'La conquête de la Toison d'or et les émailleurs limousins du XVIe siècle', La revue de l'art ancien et moderne, vol. 34, 1913, pp. 241-253; 333-345. In the 1891 Destailleur sale catalogue this copy was described as imperfect, lacking 7 plates, of which 3 were supplied by a later issue. By 1962 the copy was complete with all 7 missing plates supplied; the 1810 inscription on their versos indicate that they were supplied from one source (presumably replacing the 3 plates supplied at an earlier date). The sharp impressions of these French-language plates suggest that the French issue preceded the Latin. Mortimer, Harvard French, 519-520 (French-language); Needham, PML 78.