RIVE, Jean-Joseph (1730-91, abbé). Eclaircissements historique et critiques sur l'invention des cartes à jouer. Paris: François-Ambroise Didot, 1780.
8o (192 x 138 mm). Collation: A-C8. PRINTED ON VELLUM, one of at least four copies. (Some discoloring of the vellum, red stamp removed from half-title.) Contemporary Parisian gold-tooled red morocco by DEROME LE JEUNE or his successor BRADEL, four narrow roll-borders and multiple fillets round sides, different rolls on turn-ins, flat spine tooled and lettered, gilt edges, turquoise silk liners. Slipcase. Provenance: inscribed on flyleaf "il n'y a eu que quatre exemplaires tirés sur vélin, l'un vendu à M. de Limare, le second au Baron D'Heiss, le troisième à M. Goutard et celui ci à moi. P." -- Comte Chandon de Briailles (bookplate, Paris sale 15 February 1955, lot 121) -- Major J.R. Abbey (bookplate, Sotheby sale, Part III, London 1967, lot 2134).
This essay on early playing cards is among the least controversial of the Abbé Rive's writings. It first appeared as part of Notices historiques & critiques de deux manuscrits de la bibliothèque de M. le Duc de La Vallière, whose librarian Rive was before he moved to the Méjanes at Aix-en-Provence. In his Chronique littéraire (Aix : 1791), Rive states that THIS VELLUM ISSUE WAS LIMITED TO FOUR COPIES, which agrees with the note signed P in the present copy; however, Van Praet lists four copies other than P's, which makes five. Van Praet, Vélins du Roi V, 153.177.
Pierre-Alexis Bradel took over the binding shop and tools from his uncle, Nicolas-Denis Derome, in 1788. Either could be responsible for this binding, presumably commissioned by "P" [Pâris d'Illens?]. For a signed binding with two of the same rolls, see S. De Ricci, Mortimer L. Schiff Collection III, 133.