Paris, Moutard, Bookseller of the Queen, 1774.
2 volumes 8vo of: 1 frontispiece, xxxii pp., 340; 1 frontispiece, 339-(1) pp.
Red morocco, triple gilt fillet around the covers, arms in the center of the covers, spine ribbed and decorated, gilt edges. Contemporary binding with the arms of the Queen Marie-Antoinette.
195 x 125 mm
“In total 2 frontispieces, by Cochin, engraved, the first one by Tillard, the second through etching by Aug. De Saint-Aubin, finished by Leveau” (Cohen, c. 105).
The Fables of Father Aubert (1731-1814) knew a great success. In 1773, a chair of French literature was created for Aubert at the College de France.
“Son of a violinist, Jean-Louis Aubert, made himself known by a few Fables published in the ‘Mercure de France’. They received a warm approval from Voltaire, who saw in them ‘the reason adorned with the charms of the mind’, ‘the sublime written with naivety’. Taste reviewer with as much spirit as knowledge, he directed, from 1752 to 1772, the ‘Posters, Advertisements and various notices’, then took up the ‘Journal of Trévoux’ under the title ‘Journal of the Beaux-arts and Science’. Appointed French literature professor in the College de France in 1773, he directed one year later the ‘Gazette de France’ and was also in charge of the surveillance of the foreign newspapers.” (Author’s Dictionary, I, 148).
Voltaire, to whom, the new fabulist had sent his collection, wrote to him: “I’ve read your fables with all the pleasure, one experience when he sees reason adorned with the charms of the mind. Some radiate the philosophy the most worthy of mankind… you have the virtue of the style, of the invention, in a genre where everything seemed said” – « Vous vous êtes mis à côté de La Fontaine… ».
The copy is mentioned and described by Cohen (Manual for the 18th century engraved book amateur, c105): “ A copy bound in red morocco on vellum paper with the arms of Marie-Antoinette, was in the Parran’s collection, and is now with Mr Adolphe Bordes”.
The copy appears in the Catalogue of the library of the Queen Marie-Antoinette in the castle of the Tuileries (Ernest Quentin Bauchart, 1884) “Very beautiful copy”.
Reference : Fer n°4 reproduit dans OHR 2508 (Olivier-Hermal).
A sumptuous copy in mint condition.