MALLART, Jean. 'A tresillustre treshault & trepuissant Duc Monseigneur le duc de Iullet de Cleve, & de Mons ... Paraphrastica in preparatione[m] Dominicam Elegia.' [Paris, c. 1538-1539].
Small 4° (155 x 110mm). Calligraphic manuscript on vellum. 12 leaves. Verso of the first leaf with illuminated coat-of-arms of the dedicatee, William V of Cleves-Jülich-Berg, recto blank. Dedication on 2 leaves in French rhymed couplets, signed by Mallart. His paraphrase of the Pater Noster, in Latin heroic verse, on 9 leaves. The verso of 8 leaves left blank, and all but the final verso impressed with 7 metal cuts by Jacob Faber (82 x 52mm), illustrating the Lord's prayer. Dedication and paraphrase both with 2-line opening initial of liquid gold on a red ground. 8 one-line initials in gold on a blue or red ground, opening each subsequent page of text. Early 18th-century Dutch calf panelled in gilt, vellum liners and end leaves (wormed), modern red morocco box. Provenance: Duke William V of Cleeves-Jülich-Berg (1517-1592) -- G. Boos (18th-century signature on f.2).
A FINE 16TH-CENTURY CALLIGRAPHIC MANUSCRIPT WITH A SERIES OF EXQUISITE METAL-CUTS IN PROOF IMPRESSIONS BY JACOB FABER. A Lorraine engraver, Faber worked from 1516 to 1525 for printers in Basel, and from 1530 to 1550 for Paris and Lyon printers. From 1520, he was largely employed on cuts after Holbein, and six of the cuts in this manuscript are comparable with Holbein's engravings for Erasmsus's Precatio Dominica (Basel, 1524). Faber's cuts represent: 1. God the Father; 2. The Pentecost; 3. Via Crucis; 4. Moses exhorting the children of Israel; 5. Christ releasing a prisoner [? Peter]; 6. The Second Temptation of Job; 7. Christ appearing to a dying man. The artists's monogram, I.F., appears in cuts 6 and 7. Their measurements are the same as those of the cuts used in Mallart's Le Premier recueil des oeuvres de la muse cosmopolitique printed in Paris by J. Loys and J. de Gourmont in about 1540, an indication that they may be the same.
Jean Mallart, as he signs himself in the above manuscript, or Mallard as in the Premier recueil and the Rothschild manuscript, describes himself in the title-page of the former as 'maistre' and 'poète royal, & escrivain, & souverain conducteur des eaues, sources & fontaines.' In BnF Ms fr.14520 he again refers to himself as 'poëte, orateur et ecripvain royal.' In about 1538 Mallart is known to have received from François I a present of 45 livres 'pour avoir escript une heures en parchement présentées au roi pour les faires enluminer' (Delisle, Cabinet I, p. 164). Among the handful of manuscripts that have survived by Mallart, Delisle and Picot list two Epithalamia, one on the marriage of Francis of Lorraine to Christine of Denmark, 1540-41 (Cat. Rothschild no. 2821), the other on that of Duke Charles of Lorraine to Claude of France (BnF Ms fr.14520). The dedicatee of the present manuscript, the Duke of Cleves-Jülich-Berg, almost became king of Navarre. In 1540 he was forced into an alliance with François I, and a formal marriage to Jeanne d'Albret, then aged twelve, daughter and heiress of King Henry of Navarre, in order to protect himself against the emperor Charles V who was claiming the Duchy of Guelders. His defeat by Charles V in 1543 forced him to abandon the marriage, which was dissolved by Pope Paul III. As Mallart in his dedicatory poem mentions neither the alliance with François nor the war with Charles, it seems likely that the manuscript was presented to him on an early visit to Paris in 1538 or 1539.