Etrennes Mignonnes Curieuses et Utiles, Augmentées pour l’Année 1741. A Paris: de la Boutique de M. Jouenne, Chez Lambert et Durand, [1740].

32mo (binding size 90 x 52 mm). Etched frontispiece and etched title, unsigned but by Charles-Nicolas Cochin (printed on one bifolium), [32] leaves (a single quire), double-page engraved map of France (loose, small tears at top and bottom of gutter). Interleaved: 8 leaves in the middle of the quire. Contemporary embroidered binding, covers of cream faille silk with embossed decor in silver gilt metallic thread, both covers with a couched border of twisted metallic thread framing arabesques and central heart motif of embossed skillfully interwoven thread work, above it a rising sun motif and below it a fleur-de-lis, smooth spine divided into four compartments with abstract stitched decor, pastedown endpapers of Dutch-gilt paper, gilt edges (a few loose threads to border of upper cover). Provenance: The first 3 interleaves, front and back flyleaves (two each) and the blank versos of the map bear price notes and calculations in pencil, red pencil and brown ink in an awkward possibly later hand. ***

A finely preserved almanac, illustrated by Cochin the younger (1715-1790), in an embroidered binding in bas-relief, whose decorative motifs echo the traditional engraved title and frontispiece of the almanac.

The very long-running Paris almanac known as the Etrennes Mignonnes was published, with changing subtitles, from 1716 to ca. 1845. The engraved title and frontispiece varied from year to year (up to 1750, after which none were used), and the map alternated between an ecclesiastical, civil, or military map of France, or a map of the Paris region. In earlier issues the engraved title included a rising sun, and a heart. Although those motifs were not retained for this edition, the embroidered binding uses them, demonstrating that such case bindings could be and were re-used year after year for each new almanac. The techniques for producing the kind of embossed embroidery used on this pretty binding are well described in Saint-Aubin, L'Art du Brodeur, 1770, pp. 11-12 (pp. 28-29 in English translation in the 1983 facsimile edition).

The frontispiece and engraved title for this issue are by Charles-Nicolas Cochin fils. The allegorical frontispiece shows a female embodiment of History riding on the back of Father Time, toward Eternity (according to the caption), under the watchful care of Truth, who is holding a portrait of Her Majesty [the Queen]. Grand-Carteret (who misidentified these as woodcuts, perhaps because of the lack of a visible platemark), quotes from Jombert’s 1770 catalogue of the work of Cochin, that “since this engraving was to be used for forty or fifty thousand impressions, M. Cochin engraved these same designs four times on the same copperplate.” Even if the figure is not exact, it gives an idea of the print runs of these Paris almanacs!

The only copy of this 1741 edition listed by OCLC is at Harvard, but according to the catalogue description that copy contains a different frontispiece (”signed in the plate "P.F. Le Clerc, inv.; J. Daulle, sculp.").

An early owner of this copy with weak penmanship and orthography (a child?) wrote several price notes on the front and back flyleaves, including the costs of some farm(!) equipment and household goods, e.g., “Charette 200 fr Charru 60 fr. Garderobbe Comode 10 fr table” “se la [sic] fait 43 francs 25 centime pour de meuble [sic]”.

Grand-Carteret 107; Cohen-de Ricci 51; Jombert, Catalogue de l’Oeuvre de Ch. Nic. Cochin fils.(1770, [digitized]), 80. Item #2688t

Price: $2,200.00

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