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Carleton House
92 Malone Road
Belfast
BT9 5HP
Contact Peter Rowan
Telephone 02890 666448
Specialists Ireland, Irish History & Culture, Manuscripts, Maps, Literature, Economics, Sciences, History of Ideas, Travel, Rare Books in all fields (15th to 20th Centuries)
VIEW DEALER INFORMATION
Carleton House
92 Malone Road
Belfast
BT9 5HP
Contact Peter Rowan
Telephone 02890 666448
Specialists Ireland, Irish History & Culture, Manuscripts, Maps, Literature, Economics, Sciences, History of Ideas, Travel, Rare Books in all fields (15th to 20th Centuries)
P & B Rowan
Stand F02

HENRY ESTIENNE'S TYPOGRAPHIC MASTERPIECE - LARGE PAPER COPY IN A FINE BINDING

POETAE GRAECI PRINCIPES]

Poetae Graeci Principes Heroici Carminis [titled in Greek and Latin] .... [edited by Henry Estienne]., [Geneva]: Excudebat Henricus Stephanus, illustris viri Huldrichi Fuggeri typographus 1566

first edition thus, Large Paper copy 2 parts in 1 volume folio (378 x 226 mm.) 20, lxxii, 781, [1]; 489pp., magnificent late 18th or early 19th century binding of red straight grained morocco, sides with a broad border with a complex design in blind and gilt enclosing an panel with two large interlacing lozenges, blind and gilt decoration in and around the paired lozenges, spine panelled by shallow raised bands with the panels very richly tooled in gilt and blind, two spine panels direct gilt lettered, doublures and turn-ins surrounded on four sides with a red morocco border 3.2 cms. broad which is very richly decorated in gilt and blind, a prominent feature of the gilt decoration is the extensive use of beautifully executed pointelle work, board edges gilt decorated, edges gilt and handsomely gauphered with several patterns, some worm holes very skilfully repaired with paper paste (evidently at the time of binding), minor rubbing to binding at a few points on the edges and locally some dust in the blind blocking. A superb fine fresh copy.

Provenance
Although without any mark to this effect this book is from the Foster library at Glyde Court, Tallanstown, Co. Louth, sold, along with other contents, in 1982.

Note
Renouard 126, no.5 Brunet IV, 757 Schreiber, 160
By achieving a wonderful synthesis of both textual and typographic excellence in this monumental and magnificent book Estienne ensured that it has been avidly sought after from the time of its first production. It is notoriously difficult to find in fine condition (such as this copy) because most copies have been heavily used.
'Ce recuel est d'une grande importance, parce qu'il presente de bons textes revus par Henri Estienne, et qu'il est fort bien imprime. ... on le trouve difficlement en bon état' [Brunet].
"Un des plus beaux monuments typographiques et literaires, et l'honneur de nos Bibliotheques. Aussi, bien que hors de la categorie des livres tres rare, ce volume est-il, de tous ceux des Estienne, celui qui a acquis la valeur la plus elevee. ... Le maleur est que le plus souvent on ne le rencontre que dans un etat de fatigue attestant un long et frequent usage" [Renouard Annales de l'imprimerie des Estienne, 1843].
Renourd goes on to emphasise the very great rarity and value of large paper copies, "Quand au grand papier, il est extremement rare, d'une veritable elegance, et d'un prix exorbitant. L'exemple de De Thou, a son ancienne et belle reliure en mar[occo] rouge, et qui est maintant a notre Bibliotheque royale, a ete paye 1000 francs a la vente de Caillard; mais c'est, a n'en point douter, le plus bel exemplaire existant. Sa dimension est de 382 millim. de hauteur, sur 221 de largeur" [Renouard Estienne]. The copy offered here is only marginally less tall than that and 5 mm. broader, and in a binding which while not contemporary is a fitting complement to such a magnificent text.
The book is splendidly printed using the two largest sizes of the 'grecs du roi' type from the duplicate set brought to Geneva by Robert Estienne. It is "unquestionably Henri Estienne’s typographic masterpiece" [Shreiber]. The 'Royal Greek Types' were originally cut in 1544 by Claude Garamond (d. 1561) for Robert Estienne (1503–1559). "The letters are based on the handwriting of Angelo Vergezio, a contemporary Greek scholar and calligrapher. They are still acknowledged to be among the finest Greek types ever cut, and their influence on Greek typography elsewhere in Europe and in England was immediate, widespread, and long-lasting" [Grolier Club].
The work is divided into two parts. For the first Henri Estienne collated 18 previous printed editions and a 'vetustissimum exemplar' to establish a critical text of Homer's poems which remained the standard until the nineteenth century. The second part presented improved texts of Hesiod, Orpheus, Callimachus, Theocritus, Bion, Moschus, Aratus, Nicander, Dionysius Periegetes, Coluthus, Triphiodorus, Musaeus, Theognis, Phocylides, Pythagoras's Golden Sayings, and the editio princeps of fragments of several early Greek poets. The 56 pages of Henri Estienne's own 'Annotations' to the first part have been excluded from this copy which contains the Greek text only.
The binding is not signed but is almost certainly English from the last few years of the eighteenth century or the first few years of the nineteenth century and by one of the group of highly skilled emigré German binders' who worked in Britain at this period. We have been unable to locate in the secondary sources any binding which combines all the visual elements in this one but it does have some characteristics in common with a binding by Kalthoeber and another by Staggemeirer & Welcher. We have not attempted an analysis of the individual tools used.
This book comes from the library of a remarkable Irish family. Elizabeth Hervey (1757-1824), daughter of the celebrated Frederick Augustus Hervey (1730-1803), the Earl-Bishop of Derry (Bishop of Derry and Earl of Bristol), after an unhappy marriage to John Thomas Foster, Irish politician and landowner of Glyde Court, which produced two children fled to England. There in 1782 she met and became the friend of Georgiana Spencer, Duchess of Devonshire, moved to live with the Devonshires in a celebrated ménages à trois, and bore two children by the Duke. She and Georgiana remained inseparable friends throughout the life of the latter, and after Georgiana's death in 1806, Elizabeth married the Duke in 1809 to become in turn Duchess. Both women were highly gifted, centres of literary and artistic endeavour, and moved "in the highest circles of society in London, Paris and Rome and were intimate with many eminent persons" [Vere Foster The Two Duchesses (1898)]. Elizabeth's son Augustus (1780-1848) from her Foster marriage was successively British ambassador at Washington, Copenhagen and Turin and returned to live at the family home at Glyde Court.
£36,000