Small oblong 16mo (74 x 97 mm). Collation: a8 b4 A-M8. 2 parts, continuously paginated.  leaves, 191, [1 bl.] pp. Half-title, etched title, 93 full-page etchings. This copy includes the cancelled leaf A8, blank except for pagination and headline on the verso. Nineteenth-century red morocco with triple gilt fillet borders, spine and turn-ins gold-tooled, edges gilt over marbling, by Trautz-Bauzonnet. Provenance: James Toovey (1814-1893), London bookseller, armorial gilt bookplate with motto inter folia fructus.***
One of the most charming Netherlandish emblem books, with 94 fine near-miniature etchings. This second Latin edition reprints the same plates and text as that of 1631, which was published at the same time as a Flemish-language edition. The purpose of the book was to list and propose remedies for the “vices” of speech: garrulousness, equivocation, insults, foul language, detraction, blasphemy, lying, perjury and calumny. The theme can be traced back to antiquity, having been treated by Plutarch in the Moralia; but the author, a member of the secular clergy at the Cathedral of Bruges, was more immediately influenced by Erasmus’s De linguae usu ac abusu (1525).
Part 1 provides examples of improper or sinful speech; two introductory emblems (the first a grisly vision of hell) are followed by 45 examples of such speech, each with an etched emblem on the verso and a motto and four-line poem on the facing recto, with an occasional note in smaller italic type at the foot of the page. Part 2, with 45 more etchings, turns to the remedies for each kind of evil language (each number responds to the same number in the first part). The delicate unsigned etchings are attributed, apparently without question, to Jacobus Neeffs (1610-1660) and Andries Pauli (or Pauwels) the elder (1600-1639), after designs by Abraham van Diepenbeeck (1596-1675), who dominated Antwerp book illustration at the time. Some show vignettes of daily life, in interiors, towns or landscapes, others more exciting scenes – supernatural events, battles, storms at sea, fires and floods; and many include animals, both domestic and exotic, including a toucan, a parrot, other exotic birds, porcupines, a rhinoceros, an elephant, snakes, a leopard, a lion, a crocodile and bees.
The cancelled leaf A8, preserved here, was removed from most copies. This is among the scarcer emblem books. In the US, there are copies of the 1631 editions at the Getty, Houghton, Folger and Penn State; Houghton also holds a copy of the present edition.
Landwehr (3rd ed.) 96; Funck, Livre belge à gravures, p. 284; Forum, The Children’s World of Learning, part 7, no. 3815; cf. Praz, p. 292 (1631 Latin edition); de Vries, De Nederlandsche Emblemata 132 (1631 Flemish edition). On the artists, cf. Thieme Becker 9: 243-5 (Diepenbeeck), 25:373 (Neeffs), and 26:309 (Pauli). Item #4004