Lyon, Clement Baudin, 1570.
Small 8vo [157 x 110 mm] of (1) bl.l., 263 pp., (1) dedication p. This copy is interleaved with one blank leave between each page. Several blank leaves have been covered with handwritten annotations at the time. Handwritten exlibris on the title. Bound in full contemporary limp overlapping vellum, remains of ties, flat spine. Contemporary binding.
Rare first edition of this scholarly chronicle of the Kings of France since King Pharamond until Charles IX in power at the time. Brunet, II, 1029 ; Brun, Le livre français illustré de la Renaissance, p. 121 ; Harvard n°51 ; Barbier, Dictionnaire des ouvrages anonymes, I, 601 ; Baudrier, Bibliographie lyonnaise, p. 28.
« According to Du Verdier, George Bernard would be the author of the text printed at the bottom of the portraits. » (Brunet).
The superb illustration is composed of « 58 etched portraits by Claude Corneille and 3 portraits of Henry II (by Daven), Francis II and Charles IX, also etched ». (Destailleur, n°527).
These fine engravings are by the “Maître au Double C” (Corneille de Lyon or de la Haye) and had been used before, which the exception of three portraits which had been newly added.
« Pages are framed; 61 copper-engraved portrait-medallions. 54 portraits are those published in 1555 by B. Arnoullet, attributed to Corneille de la Haye; the others have been engraved again or replaced by copies that don’t bear the double C monogram, but the signature C.L. The portraits of Henry II, Francis II and Charles IX have been added ». (Brun).
« It is commonly said that the figures are the same as those used by Balthazard Arnoullet in his ‘Epitome des gestes des roys de France…’. It’s true for most of them but the coppers that were too worn away have been reworked. Some of them having been lost, they were replaced with pretty similar copies that don’t have Corneille de la Haye’s signature anymore. The new coppers have the C.L. signature instead of the two Cs of Corneille de la Haye […] The author dedicates a special chapter to Charles Martel whose effigy is left blank. He adds the portraits of Henry II, Francis II and Charles IX.» (Baudrier).
This is, however, the first edition of the text and of this publication.
L’Epitome des roys de France by Arnoullet that served as a basis for the engravings of our Cronique is actually the first French work entirely illustrated with copper engravings associated with some text on the same page. Thus this innovative work and its engravings are essential in the history of book illustration in Lyon.
A very pure and fine copy, interleaved with one blank leave between each page, of a handsome little book, delightfully illustrated with 61 portraits of the Kings of France, the last being that of Charles IX (crowned 1561) preserved in its contemporary limp vellum.
Only 2 copies have been located in France: Bourg-en-Bresse and Aix-en-Provence. No copy in the National Library of France.