7 June 2006
VALLET, Pierre (c. 1575-1657). Le Jardin du roy tres chrestien Louis XIIII roy de France et de Navare. Paris: Pierre Mariette, [?1665]. Etched and engraved architectural title incorporating the figures of L'Ecluse and L'Obel, and 93 etched and engraved plates by and after Vallet. (Lacking 2 portraits.) Nissen BBI 2039. [Bound with:]
[RABEL, Daniel (?1578-1637).] Theatrum florae. Paris: Pierre Mariette, '1633' [?but later]. Engraved title, frontispiece and 69 plates by and after Rabel. Cleveland Collections 176 (Firens: 1633 ed.); Nissen BBI 1575; cf. Oak Spring Flora 15.
2 works bound in one volume, 2° (393 x 270mm). (Some light spotting or marking, occasional light marginal dampstaining.) 17th-century French calf, spine gilt in compartments and lettered in one (worn with small losses, upper joint split). Provenance: Ph. Tymbergue (early inscriptions on both titles).
MARIETTE'S EDITIONS OF THE FIRST TWO ENGRAVED FLORILEGIA PUBLISHED IN FRANCE. Vallet's work -- 'The first important florilegium ... a work of great beauty (Blunt and Stearn, p. 101) -- first appeared as Le Jardin du roy tres chrestien Henry IV in 1608 with 73 plates, and was followed by a second edition, re-titled Le Jardin du roy tres chrestien Loys XIII in 1623 with 90 plates, and a third edition with 93 plates in 1633. This edition dates from after the death of Louis XIII in 1643. Vallet's love of botany and his friendship with Jean Robin (creator of the royal gardens at the Louvre for Henri IV in about 1590), stimulated his work on the Jardin du Roy, and Vallet pays tribute to his friend by including his portrait in the work and by documenting some of the exotic species brought back by Robin from Spain and Guinea for the royal garden. Marie de Médicis, consort of Henri IV and the book's dedicatee, was to have taken particular pleasure in these rarities, and she also made fashionable the floral motif in embroidery; preliminary verses referring to Vallet's work in silk or gold make clear that the illustrations were also intended to serve as embroidery patterns. Rabel's Theatrum florae was first published in 1622, and later editions were issued in 1627 and 1633; it has the distinction of being the 'second engraved florilegium to be published in France, the Jardin du Roy of Pierre Vallet having appeared in 1608 ... The plates in Theatrum florae are indeed magnificent ... While the images clearly owe much to the earlier florilegia of Vallet and de Bry, certain illustrations stand out due to their exceptional artistic quality and almost scientific realism' (Oak Spring Flora). Since this copy of the Theatrum florae bears the name of Firens on the title (who also issued an edition in 1633), it seems possible that the Mariette edition is later than 1633 and that these two works were issued together by Mariette.
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