Lyons, Jean de Tournes, 1559-1561.
4 parts in 4 folio volumes [330 x 208 mm] of: I/ (10) ll., 462 pp., (17) ll.; II/ (6) ll., 314 pp., (3) ll.; III/ (6) ll., 363 pp., (5) pp.; IV/ (6) ll., 350 pp., (3) ll. Bound in full contemporary fawn roan, blind stamped fillets on the covers with gilt corner fleurons, gilt arms stamped in the center within a medallion with the letters H. A. D. and the date 1565 written in a background of small gilt flowers, remains of ties, spine ribbed and decorated with blind stamped fillets and gilt fleurons. A few chafed patches. Contemporary bindings.
The most beautiful antique edition of Froissart’s Chronicles, “infinitely superior to the previous ones”. (Brunet, II, 1405-1406).
“This edition, that became uncommon, is very beautiful and, despite Jean Le Laboureur’s detrimental judgment (Mémoires de Castelneau, I, p. 677), it deserves to be sought-after since, according to Sainte-Palaye, undeniable judge on such subject, Sauvage, with the very little assistance he could get then, made, in order to improve Froissart’s text, everything in his power; and if his edition is still imperfect, it has no defects that wouldn’t be common to the previous editions to which it still remains infinitely superior (Mém. de l’Acad. des inscriptions et belles-lettres, XIII, p. 568 et suiv.)” (Brunet).
This edition, dedicated to the constable Anne de Montmorency, is the first one given by Denis Sauvage and the first critical edition of Froissart’s text that ensured the author a great popularity.
The “Chroniques de France, d’Angleterre et des païs voisins” are the account of the wars that took place since the accession of Edward III (1327) until the death of his grandson and successor Richard II (1399-1400). The Chronicles remain one of the major narrative sources for the history of Western Europe in the 14th century as for the Hundred Years’ War.
The third book is the more brilliant of all; it relates the events since the peace of Tournai in 1385 until the preparations of Isabeau de Bavière s entry in Paris in 1389, a ceremony Froissart attended. An important part of the volume is dedicated to the journey he made in Bearn to the Court of Gaston Phoebus in 1388, in order to better understand what happened in the south-east of France, after the defeat of Poitiers.
A superb copy contemporary bound with the arms of d’Alsace-Hénin-Liétard, baron de Dieuville, dead as “grand-bailli de la Morée” (Loir-et-Cher), towards the end of the 16th century, one of the rarest provenance according to Guigard. “The letters A.H.D. are his initials. The date 1565 is, very certainly, the date of the binding. Besides, a mark of the utmost rarity.” (Guigard, Armorial du Bibliophile, II, p. 10).