Narcisse dans l'Isle de Venus, Poëme en IV Chants. [Part 2:] Barthélemy IMBERT (1747-1790). Le Jugement de Pâris, Poëme en IV Chants. Jacques Charles Louis MALFILÂTRE.
Bonaparte’s favorite binder

Narcisse dans l'Isle de Venus, Poëme en IV Chants. [Part 2:] Barthélemy IMBERT (1747-1790). Le Jugement de Pâris, Poëme en IV Chants. Paris: chez Chaignieau aîné, 1797.

18mo (150 x 85 mm).  205, [1 blank], [2] pp. Half-titles, two engraved titles, after Charles Eisen (Narcisse) and Moreau (Jugement), and 8 engraved plates, four in part 1 after Gabriel Jacques de St. Aubin, and four in part 2 after Moreau, most engraved by L. Duval. 2-page publisher’s catalogue at end. Printed on wove paper. Contemporary straight-grained dark green morocco gilt, sides with double fillet panel and leafy vine border built up from repeated tools, quatrefoil tools at corners, spine in six faux compartments each stamped with a block of ivy leaves on a dense pointillé ground, gilt edges, board edges and turn-ins gilt, fuchsia endleaves, by Doll, with his gold-tooled signature at foot of spine. Provenance: Amédée Rigaud (1819-1874), circular bookplate, black paper gilt with leafy initial R, motto “bona fide sine fraude,” paper shelfmark label headed “Paris”;  Sir David Lionel Salomons (1851-1925), bookplate. 

A flawless copy of this illustrated edition of Narcisse, the masterpiece of the short-lived, gentle poet and Latinist whose profound knowledge of Virgil contributed to the “gift of imagery, sense of rhythm, and limpidity of style” for which he was later celebrated (Grente, Dictionnaire des lettres). This edition contains reduced reverse copies of the engravings of the first edition, published posthumously in 1769. With it is bound another neoclassical exercise, the most successful work of the Nîmois poet Imbert, illustrated with reduced copies of the plates from the first edition (1772). 

F. Doll, active ca. 1796/98 to after 1830, was reputed to be Napoleon’s favorite binder. The binding probably dates to his early career, when he was still strongly influenced by Bozérian jeune, with whom he is thought to have apprenticed. The finishing recalls Bozérian, particularly the “mille-points” spine decoration, rendered here by means of block stamps rather than individual tools. 

Fine copy from the collections of two distinguished bibliophiles.  Cohen-de Ricci 672 and 507. Cf. Ramsden, French Bookbinders 1789-1848, pp. 72-73.

Item #2132

Price: $2,800.00