Exploring One of those “Lesser Paths” of History
“One Hundred Illustrations”
(An Emblem Book'y “Relative”). Larwood, Jacob, & John Camden Hotten. The history of signboards, from the earliest times to the present day... sixth edition. London: John Camden Hotten, 1867. 8vo (18.8 cm, 7.4"). Col. frontis., x, 536 pp.; 19 plts.
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Sixth edition (following its initial appearance in the previous
year) of this engaging account, full of anecdotes, historical digressions, and
literary quotations, as well as attempted analysis ofemblems
and their meanings (though this is not, of course, the classic “emblem
book”). “One hundred illustrations in fac-simile” are
attributed to Larwood on the title-page; the work features 19 plates, each depicting
an assortment of house- and pub-signs, as well as a hand-colored frontispiece
“Drawn by Experience . . . Engraved by Sorrow,” in which a cheerful
gin-drinking lady rides her woebegone, care-laden husband.
Title-page stamped by a private collector: “Thomas Witherell
Palmer, Log Cabin Park” (Detroit).
Contemporary half calf with marbled paper–covered sides,
spine with gilt-stamped leather title-label and ornate gilt-stamped decorations
within compartments; binding with light to moderate rubbing overall, with
spine leather starting to show some cracking. All edges stained red. Delightful
reading and looking, and a delightful copy.
A Classic of the Genre — Love's Progress inWOODCUT EMBLEMS
Hugo, Herman; Christopher van Sichem, illus. Pia desideria emblematis elegiis & affectibus Ss. Patrum illustrata. Antuerpiae: Typis Henrici Aertssenii, 1628. Small 8vo (12.3 cm, 4.875"). , 456,  pp.; 46 ill. (woodcuts), 1 coat of arms (woodcut).
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Painstakingly pirated version of one of the most influential of the Dutch emblem books andone of the most charming, with Hugo's morals, written in a combination of Latin verse and prose, accompanying46 full-page woodcut illustrations by Christopher van Sichem (numbered 0–45), each with a Bible quotation below. The Jesuit author (1588–1629) designed this devotional volume to follow the three stages of mystical life and meditation: purification (here, Book I: “Gemitus animae poenitentis”), illumination (II: “Vota animae sanctae”), and union (III: “Suspiria animae amantis”).
Amsterdam publisher P.I. Paets commissioned the woodcuts, done after the copper engravings by Boetius a Bolswert for the 1624 first edition, later using or sharing them least three more times. Additionally, the volume offers a fine woodcut illustrated title-page, the woodcut coat of arms of Urban VIII, three sectional woodcut architectural title-pages, and in-text woodcut initials and tailpieces.
Binding: 18th-century brown morocco, spine with gilt title-label, raised bands accented with gilt hashing, and compartments containing gilt daisy stamps, corner ornaments, and ruling; covers framed in gilt triple fillets, board edges with gilt zigzag roll. Marbled endapers, all edges marbled, blue ribbon place marker.
Provenance: From the library of American collector Albert A. Howard, small booklabel (“AHA”) at rear; evidence of removed bookplate on front pastedown and very faded word in an early hand on title-page margin.
DeBacker-Sommervogel, IV, 513; Landwehr, Emblem & Fable Books Printed in the Low Countries (3rd ed.), 346; Corpus librorum emblematum, Jesuit series, J.631; Emblem Books at the University of Illinois, H56. Bound as above, binding gently rubbed with a few small spots, one small wormhole and a leather repair, pencilling on endpapers. Light age-toning and limited, light to moderate all-marginal waterstaining throughout, a smattering of spots. Provenance marks as above. Plates as fresh and engaging as the day they were produced. (38273)
True Beauty Lies Within — Presentation Copy
[Murray, Hannah, & Mary Murray]. The American toilet. New York City: Imbert's Lithographic Office, 1827. Square 12mo (13 cm, 5.13"). 20 ff.
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Second edition of this variant of The Young Lady's Toilet, inspired by the original handmade books by Hannah and Mary Murray of New York, two young ladies who cut out pictures from periodicals and pasted them onto blank leaves, adding their own captions.
Each lithographed vessel for a beauty productdisplays a witty moral maxim behind a moveable flap (a concept that the Murrays may have adapted from the original 1821 London edition of The Toilet), providing the book's manipulator with emblematic instruction on true beauty, so that “A Wash to Smooth Wrinkles” is revealed as Contentment; “A Universal Beautifier” as Good Humor; “A Solution to Prevent Eruptions” as Moderation; and “An Elastic Girdle” as Benevolence — well, that's a stretch!
Each virtue is further described by rhyming couplet or two at the bottom of the page.
Provenance: Faint pencil presentation inscription on front free endpaper, “Lizzie D. Karl fromM. Murray.” Later in the library of American collector Albert A. Howard, small booklabel (“AHA”) at rear.
Shaw & Shoemaker 29838 (2nd ed.); Rosenbach, Early American Children's Books, 683 (n.d., ca. 1825). Publisher's bright green paper–covered boards printed in black, speckled edges. Joints (outside) cracking and paper flaking, board extremities rubbed, and small dark stains on rear board; scattered foxing as is common, sometimes heavy. Intact with all parts, this is an impressive example of a ladies' emblem book. (38484)
An Italian'sEMBLEMS in French with Engravings by a Dutchman
Ripa, Cesare. Iconologie, ou La science des emblemes, devises &c. Qui apprend à les expliquer, dessiner et inventer. Ouvrage tres utile aux orateurs, poëtes, peintres, sculpteurs, graveurs, & generalement à toutes sortes de curieux des beaux arts et des sciences. A Amsterdam: Chez Adrian Braakman, 1698. Small 8vo. 2 vols. I: Engr. title-page,  ff., 264 pp., 29 plates. II: Engr. title-page,  f., pp. 265–550; 51 plates, [6 (ads)] ff.
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Ripa's Iconologia first appeared in 1593 in Italian, published at Rome and although unillustrated was an instant success with several subsequent editions and translations into German, Dutch, English, and French. The French is the work of Jean Baudoin (1590?–1650) and it first appeared in 1636. The80 leaves of engravings contain six emblems each and are restrikes/reengravings of those created by the Dutch painter and engraver Jacob de Bie for the first French edition.
This later French reissue proudly proclaims on the black and red title-pages that it is, “Enrichie & augmentée dun grandnombre de figures avec des moralités, tirées la pluspart de Cesar Ripa. Par J.B.”
Querard, 2/3, 324; Vinet 114; Brunet, Supplement, 485; Landwehr 687; Adams, Rawles, & Saunders, Bibliography of French Emblem Books, F510. Contemporary sprinkled calf, gilt spine extra, rubbed at corners and two spine tips; age-toned and otherwise the occasional spot or instance of light foxing only. A delightful little duo. (34958)
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