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Dorat, Claude-Joseph; Marillier, Pierre-Clément, illus.  Fables nouvelles. La Haye & Paris: Chez Delalain, 1773[–75]. 8vo (23.5 cm, 9.25"). 2 vols. in 1. xxii, [2], 309, [3 (index)] pp.; 4 plts., illus.

Hoe copy of this resplendently elegant production: Both volumes of Dorat's fables with their exquisite illustrations, engraved after Pierre-Clément Marillier's designs by de Ghent and several other hands, in a lavish 19th-century binding. The volumes open with an engraved frontispiece (repeated) and an engraved title-page (different for vols. I and 2); each fable is headed by a minutely detailed engraved vignette and closes with an equally refined engraved tailpiece. This is the first edition to include the 99 engraved vignettes & 99 engraved culs-de-lampe by Marillier; Cohen called this the artist's masterpiece, and Lady Dilke noted in particular that de Ghent's pieces were "miracles of microscopic delicacy" (French Engravers & Draughtsmen of the XVIIIth Century, p. 108).
        The present example is => probably a iarge-paper copy as others are reported as being only 18 cm tall, and certainly it has notably wide margins and crisply impressed vignettes showcasing Marillier's accomplishments as "the artist of the infinitely small" (Portalis, quoted by Ray). This is the second issue of the first volume, with the triple-band headpiece on p. iii and the text on p. 162 corrected.
        Binding: Signed 19th-century green morocco done for Hoe by eminent Parisian binder Cuzin. Covers with wide gilt-tooled lacework border composed of foliate, floral, pomegranate, bird, and monkey elements; spine gilt extra with gilt-stamped title, date, and pomegrante motifs between gilt-dotted raised bands; red morocco doublures framed in gilt fillets and rolls surrounding gilt-tooled foliate design with flower basket and wheat sheaf elements, front pastedown with Cuzin's stamp at lower edge (pencilled note on front fly-leaf dating binding to May 1888); board edges with gilt roll. All edges gilt.
        Provenance: Front free endpaper with leather ex libris of Robert Hoe, leather ex libris of Cortlandt F. Bishop, bookplate of Mary S[chell]. Collins (Philadelphia collector of medieval manuscripts [now in the Philadelphia Museum of Art] and fine and rare books).

Brunet, II, 818; Cohen-de Ricci, col. 313-14; Ray, Art of the French Illustrated Book, 43A; Sander 508; Cioranescu 25113; Fabula Docet 102; Landwehr, Emblem & Fable Books, F079. Binding as above, spine sunned (evenly and not unattractively) to olive brown with one small spot of discoloration on uppermost raised band, corners and joints very slightly rubbed. Bookplates as above. => A gorgeous, covetable copy.  (40757)   Please RESHELVE This.

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