CURMER. Imitation de Jésus-Christ. IV Livres de l’Imitation de Jésus-Christ qu’aucuns attribuent à Iessen d’autres à Gerson, & d’autres à Thomas, à Kempis, fidellement traduits. Avec : –Appendice à l’Imitation de Jésus-Christ. Paris, Nicolas Gasse, 1626. [Paris, Curmer, 1856-1858].
2 volumes 4to of: I/ (5) ll., xii pp., (2) ll., 399 pp., (3), xiv; II/ (4) pp., 28, 143, 51, (17), 16. Bound in full brown shagreen in imitation of monastic bindings, covers decorated with a blind-stamped geometric pattern of fleurs-de-lis, two horizontal friezes embellished with copper fleurons and bosses in the shape of flowers on the covers, flat spines decorated with the same decor, corners and head and foot of spine protected and covered with metal, red edges with a semis of gilt fleurs-de-lis, two large clasps in the shape of fleurs-de-lis, gilt inner border, brown moire doublures and endleaves. A boss is missing at the top of the spine of one volume. The 2 volumes are preserved in a large box covered with leather, a bit worn with scratches. The front part of the box opens and allows to take the books easily. The inside of the box is covered with green fabric, torn in places because of the metal bosses of the bindings. Contemporary binding in imitation of monastic bindings.
First edition, first state, of this superb ‘Imitation of Jesus Christ’ realized by Curmer in chromolithography. Vicaire, Manuel de l’amateur, IV, 489 ; Brunet, Supp. I, 673
« Beautiful publication; in a rich binding, 250 fr. Bachelin (1874); 315 fr. Curmer » (Brunet).
This work was published in 76 issues at 3 fr. 50 each (266 fr. the entire work); the first one is mentioned in the Bibliogr. de la France on April, 26th 1856, that announced the work would be published in 48 issues; the entire work, in the same publication, on January, 16th 1858. » (Vicaire).
« ‘The ’Imitation of Jesus Christ’ that Curmer published in 1856-1858 in 50 issues, very richly decorated, was meant to be a kind of ‘selected pages’ from medieval manuscripts.’It’s by examining most of these wonderful volumes that the thought came to me of bringing them to light to the public by the reproduction of the most beautiful pages of all the periods’, wrote the editor.» (The revival of medieval illumination: nineteenth-century Belgium manuscripts …, 2007, p. 116).
Complete copy with its “Appendix” constituting the second volume.
Each page of the first volume was chromolithographed by Lemercier, in full-page or as very large illustrated frames, in which the text is printed, reproducing polychrome and gold scenes or vegetal patterns from illuminated manuscripts of the Middle-Ages. The second volume is illustrated with many figures in the text and with 4 original photographs pasted on.
A very beautiful copy of this luxurious publication, rarely found complete with its two volumes uniformly bound at the time in the style of monastic bindings and preserved in the original box.