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Famous French fable book:
a milestone in French book illustration

LA MOTTE, Antoine Houdar de.
Fables nouvelles, dédiées au Roy. Avec un discours sur la fable.
Paris, Gregoire Dupuis, 1719. 4to. With engraved allegorical frontispiece by N. Tardieu after Charles Coypel, engraved vignette on title-page by C. Simeneau after N. Vleughels and 100 engraved illustrations to the fables by and after Claude Gillot, Charles Antoine Coypel, Jean Ranc, Bernard Picart, Jean Baptiste Massé, etc. Contemporary mottled calf, gold-tooled spine.
€ 2,500
First edition of a famous French fable book, beautifully illustrated by the most famous artists of the day. The book contains 100 fables by Antoine Houdar de La Motte (1672-1731), modelled after the fables by Jean de La Fontaine, the most important French fable author ever. Of special interest is La Motte-Houdart's introductory essay on the genre of the fable, setting out rules to be followed, based on the classical ideals of true likeness, unity and proper arrangement. He intends to rival both Aesop and La Fontaine.
The book at the same time represents a milestone in French book illustration, introducing Rococo miniatures or vignettes, including 62 by the interior and costume designer Claude Gillon, one of his few works as a book-illustrator. The "Actor's fable" is dedicated to him.
Binding rubbed with a few small defects; some slight staining and thumbing. Very good copy.
Cioranescu 36530; Cohen-De Ricci, p. 594 ("Très belle édition, rare et recherchée"); Fabula Docet 94; Fürstenberg 74; Lewine 289; Populus, Gillot Cat, 31-98; Sander 1095.
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Art & architecture  >  Art & Art History
Literature & linguistics  >  Emblem, Fable & Songbooks | English, French & German Literature