Londra [Paris], 1757.
5 volumes 8vo [200 x 122 mm] of: I/ 1 frontispiece, 1 out of text engraving, 1 portrait, xi pp., 292 pp., 22 numbered figures; II/ 1 frontispiece, 271 pp., 22 numbered figures; III/ 1 frontispiece, 195 pp., 22 numbered figures, small tear on the bl. margin of pl. 12 without loss; IV/ 1 frontispiece, 261 pp., 22 numbered figures; V/ 1 frontispiece, 247 pp., 22 numbered figures, small hole on the bl. margin of pl. 14 not attaining the drawing. Total of 5 frontispieces, 1 portrait, 111 figures.
Full red morocco, covers decorated with a thin gilt lace, spine ribbed and decorated with a superb gilt decor, lettering pieces in green morocco, inner roll-stamp, gilt edges. From the Charles Tennant’s library (1976, n°14), with his ex-libris, to which was added an unsigned figure at the head of Tome I. Contemporary binding with lace.
Splendid copy of very first issue on Dutch paper illustrated with 5 frontispieces, 1 portrait, 110 figures and 97 tail-pieces by Gravelot, Boucher, Cochin and Eisen.
“One of the most accomplished illustrated books from the 18th century.” (Cohen), perfectly suited to Boccacio’s masterpiece, written between 1350 and 1355, in which are gathered a hundred stories told in tend days by seven women and three young men.
The exceptional variety of themes, style and ideas makes of The Decameron a unique work in the history of modern literature.
The influence of the Decameron on European short stories was considerable, both in Italy (from Giovanni Sercambi to Masuccio Salernitano, from Bandello to Firenzuola, Da Porto, Lasca…) and in France, where it has been translated from 1545 by Antoine Le Maçon. It is evident in The Heptameron of Marguerite de Navarre. The Tales of La Fontaine, as we know, resume some of these stories – the most licentious, which greatly contributed to the reputation of a saucy author that has long weighed on Boccaccio. But none of his epigones matched him in the construction of a real book, endowed with an organic unity, or in the representation of what, by reference to Dante’s Divine Comedy, the critics called the “human Comedy”.
“Gravelot drew the entire illustration with remarkable verve and talent” (R. Portalis).
“The drawings of this pretty book, witty and delicately shaded with bistre, are among his best; we feel that these joyous subjects suit him; as for the group of children scattered in the tail-pieces, they are all gracious, and he succeeded in making this work, which had a very great success and quickly spread, thanks to its figures, in France, England and in Italy, one of the models of its kind.”
Superb copy on Dutch paper in vivid contemporary bindings in red morocco with lace, belonging to the first issue.
“Several issues of this edition have been made. The first one, whose proofs are the most beautiful, has the plates marked on their back with printed initials; it is the most sought-after.” (case of this copy).
From Charles Tennant’s library with ex-libris.