SAURIN, Jacques [- ROQUES, - BEAUSOBRE, Ch.-L.]. Discours historiques, critiques, théologiques et moraux, sur les evenemens les plus memorables du Vieux et du Nouveau Testament.(- Continuez par M. Roques, – par M. C.S. de BEAUSOBRE). Avec des figures gravées sur les desseins de Mrs. Hoet, Houbraken & Picart.


The famous Saurin’s Bible illustrated by the best Flemish artists of the time.
Precious copy from the library of Montesquieu at the Château de la Brède.

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La Haye, Pierre de Hondt, 1728-1739.

6 folio volumes [405 x 257 mm] of: I/ (8) pp. including 1 full-page frontispiece, viii, 558 pp., (77) pp. of table, 72 full-page or double-page engravings; II/ (4) ll. including 1 engraved dedication leaf, 579 pp., 38 full-page or double-page engravings; III/ (10) pp., 590 pp, 17 full-page or double-page engravings; IV/ (2) pp., 632 pp., 58 pp., 50 pp., 16 full-page or double-page engravings; V/ (12) pp., including 1 full-page frontispiece, 378 pp., (2) pp., 32 full-page or double-page engravings; VI/ (4) pp., 530 pp., (28) pp, 38 full-page or double-page engravings. Thus a total of 215 engravings out of pagination.

Full red morocco, triple gilt fillet around the covers with gilt fleurons at the corners, ribbed spines decorated with gilt fleurons, gilt inner border, gilt edges. Contemporary binding.

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First edition and first issue of one of the rarest and most beautiful illustrated books of the beginning of the 18th century, illustrated with 2 frontispieces, 6 fleurons, 3 vignettes and 213 superb full or double-page engravings, drawn and engraved by Bernard Picart, Hoët, Houbraken, Carrache, Von Leiden, Bourdon, Folkema, Beauvais, Bleyswych and Raphaël.

Cohen 940; Reynaud 492; Brunet, V, 150.

The 212 plates which form part of this book, several of which are very beautiful, were engraved from 1705 to 1720, and were published separately before any thought was given to insert them in the Discours de Saurin, mentions Brunet (Manuel du Libraire et de l’amateur, V, 150).

He continues: “Saurin wrote the Discourses of the first two volumes; the sequel of the Old Testament is by Roques, pastor of Basel, and it is Beausobre son who is the author of the New Testament. Copies were printed on four kinds of paper, the quality of which being indicated at the bottom of the titles of each volume; ordinary or medium paper sells for 80 to 100 fr. – Royal paper, from 120 to 150 fr. – Super-royal paper (which has the reputation of containing good proofs, although this is only true for a few copies), from 150 to 200 fr – Imperial paper, from 200 to 250 fr.”.

Complete with the frontispieces by Bernard Picard (t. I) and Gérard Hoet (t. V), the vignettes by Gérard Hoet (1648-1733) and Arnold Houbraken (1660-1719) repeated on the titles, dedication vignettes, very numerous tail-pieces of various sizes (especially in volumes I and II), initial letters and 212 large engravings out of pagination (26 on double-page) captioned in Hebrew, English, German, Latin, French and Dutch, engraved from the drawings by Carrache, Philippe de Champagne, Raphaël, Charles Le Brun, Houbraken, Bernard Picart, Carlo Maratta, etc. by the best French and Dutch engravers of the time. Several in texto also adorn the volumes and the volume 1 even contains a full-page engraving. Volume I contains the dedication to the King of Great Britain and Volume V, that to Monsignor the Prince Royal. The pp. 111-112 are bound in double in fine (i.e. cancel?), volume VI includes pp. 507-512 entitled “Table des passages l’écriture sainte” pp. 507-530 entitled “Preuves des citations du sixième volume“. All the volumes have a “Avis au relieur“, those of volumes I and V being on a separate printed sheet bound in fine (complete). Volume I had already been printed in Amsterdam, at Henri du Sauzet, in 1720. The plates were engraved from 1705 to 1720, which explains the participation of Houbraken, who died in 1719, and were then published separately or sometimes as a collection.

Jacques Saurin (Nîmes 1677-1730 The Hague), Protestant preacher of French origin, was pastor in London and, from 1705, in The Hague. He is the author of the first two volumes, continued for the Old Testament by Roques, pastor in Basel, and for the New Testament by Charles-Louis de Beausobre (1690-1753), pastor of the Reformed Church of the French community in Buchholz, Hamburg, Altona and Berlin.

Precious and superb copy preserved in its contemporary morocco binding, coming from Montesquieu’s library at the Chateau de la Brede and bearing the stamp of his library on the titles.

The provenance of this precious copy of the famous Protestant Bible is even more fascinating when one recalls the catholic fervor of Montesquieu at the end of his life. Thus, the Année littéraire, less than a month’s distance from the time of Montesquieu’s death, faithfully summed up the facts in these terms: “Religion has become Montesquieu’s sole hope, and his last shelter. He submitted to it his heart, his mind and his works; he demanded that everything be removed from his books that could hurt Christians and Catholics. He confessed and received the sacraments of the Church. The parish priest of Saint-Sulpice exhorted him with that wisdom, that gentleness and that anointing that characterize the tender and enlightened pastor. Fathers Castel and Routh, Jesuits, also had the honor of receiving the last sighs of this great man.” Ex libris P. Brunet.

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SAURIN, Jacques [- ROQUES, – BEAUSOBRE, Ch.-L.].