Paris, Basan, 1714.
Folio [500 x 338 mm] : (1) engraved title, (1) l. of foreword, xiv pp., (1) p. of engraved music and 102 plates including 3 on double-page. Bound in full brown morocco, triple gilt fillet on the covers, spine ribbed and richly decorated, a bit faded, edges gilt. Binding from the XIXth century.
First issue of the most beautiful book about the nations of the Levant executed under the Regency.
Cohen, 619 ; Colas, 1819 ; Blackmer 591 ; Lipperheide, 1413; Graesse, Trésor de livres rares, IV, 150 ; Rahir, La Bibliothèque de l’amateur, 504 ; Brunet, III, 947 ; Atabey 429; -8.
It is illustrated with 102 beautiful copper engravings, including 3 on double-page, all of them finely hand-coloured.
These engravings mainly present costumes of the court and of the various classes of Turkey.
They were executed after the paintings of the Flemish painter J.B. Van Mour, who arrived in Constantinople with the circle of Charles de Ferriol in 1699.
Other costumes of ethnic groups are also represented: some Greeks, some Jews, some Albanians, some Hungarians, some Persians, some Armenians, some Bulgarians, some Arabs…
The plates are engraved by C. Du Bosc, C.N. Cochin, J. de Franssières, P. Simoneau fils and J.B. Scotin…
The plates are based on paintings in the collection of the Marquis de Ferriol. In 1707, Ferriol commissioned Jean Baptiste van Mour to paint one hundred pictures of different officials and races in their costumes: the chief eunuch; a Turkish man cutting himself to show his love for his mistress; a Jewish woman taking goods to Turkish harems; a Greek bride; a Turkish women at leisure; Albanians, Bulgarians, Greeks, Persians and Arabs. When the paintings were complete, Ferriol helped le Hay to publish the present engravings of the pictures.
Le Hay’s work was an instant success and the plates quickly became the principal source of turqueries for artists and publishers throughout Europe. In recognition of van Mour’s talents, he was granted the unique post of `Peintre ordinaire du Roi en Levant’ in 1725.
“This collection of 100 engravings was offered for sale again and completed the following year by 1 explanatory text and 2 engraved plates: the dancing dervish and the Turkish funeral.”
The present copy presents all the characteristics of the first issue, with for example the title of the first issue; the binder took care to add the explanatory text, the leaf with the engraved music and the 2 additional plates.
A precious copy from the first issue, finely watercolored in warm tints, of the most famous and most spectacular book on the nations of the Levant.