Folio (305 x 213 mm). , 70 pages. 22 etched and engraved plates of which 20 double-page garden and villa views, engraved by Johann August Corvinus (6) and Karl Remshart (14) after Mathias Diesel, published by Jeremias Wolff of Augsburg, with captions in German and French; and two large folding firework plates by Franz Joseph Späett after J. Schönwetter, the larger plate (platemark 348 x 570 mm) dated 1722; large woodcut head- and tail-pieces and initials. Plates printed on thick paper. Repaired tears along lower folds of the larger folding plate, causing slight rubbing to engraved surface, tiny holes at fold junctures, short repaired marginal tear to fol. D2, very occasional marginal soiling. Publisher’s presentation binding of gold-tooled red-dyed parchment over boards, covers colored reddish-orange with roll-tooled silver-gilt-tooled border, fleurons at corners, and central lozenge containing the arms of Bavaria, smooth spine uncolored and with overall silver-gilt tooling, pastedowns of red, blue, and yellow pastepaper with a stenciled uncolored floral pattern, gilt edges (lacking two fore-edge ties, somewhat rubbed and scratched, covers a bit bowed). ***
First Edition of one of the rarest German festival and garden books, celebrating the wedding of Karl Albrecht, Electoral Prince of Bavaria (1697-1745), Holy Roman Emperor (as Charles VII) from 1742, and Maria Amalia, Imperial Princess (1701-1756). In the dedication to Violante Beatrice of Bavaria, Grand Princess of Tuscany (the only close royal family member who was unable to attend the festivities), the author identifies himself as an Augustinian, and Confessor to the Prince Elector. His preface decries the lack of books describing the beauties and “délices” of Bavaria, a lacuna which he intends to fill in this account, for, reflecting the breadth of the festivities, the engravings include not only views of the electoral residence in Munich, but also (and mainly) of the princely country seats: the gigantic palaces of Schleissheim and Nymphenburg and their luxurious garden pavilions Lustheim, Badenburg and Pagottenburg, as well as the smaller but still imposing palaces at Dachau and of Berg on Lake Starnberg, and the hunting lodge of Fürstenried.
The author opens his account of the Bavarian festivities that followed the wedding in Vienna (on 5 October 1722) with a fulsome description of the newlyweds and their aristocratic entourage, of the lavish decorations which were sent to Munich from the Empire (precious stones), France (textiles, gold and silver work) and Flanders (laces and other worked textiles), the richly adorned princely carriages, built by the best carrossiers of Paris, and the large crowds of visitors from as far away as Venice, Paris and Lyon, filling every lodging in Munich. The following chapters recount the nearly non-stop festivities held in and near Munich from October 17th to November 4th: the Princess’s entry into Munich accompanied by a vast and richly adorned human and equine escort, terminating in a gigantic banquet; two operas, with music by Pietro Torri and by Albinoni (the first performed twice, each time with different musical ornamentation); a “treasure” display of precious Wunderkammer objects; several hunts, resulting in the slaughter of 90 boars and countless pheasants and deer; two firework displays, of which one on a lake; military parades with volleys of artillery; games of “passes” (a croquet-like pasttime invented by the Electoral Prince); three carrousels (tournaments), with lists of participants; a luxuriously appointed “yacht” trip to the castle at Dachau and its beautiful terraced gardens, and excursions on a Venetian-style pleasure boat or “bucentaur” on Lake Starnberg. The palaces and their gardens, parterres, waterworks and labyrinths are described in detail in the second half. All are splendidly illustrated in the double-page plates after Mathias Diesel, documenting, for example, the important baroque gardens of Schleissheim, and of the vast gardens of Nymphenburg, recently enlarged and redesigned in the French style by Dominique Gérard, a student of Le Nôtre. The fireworks plates show an illuminated triumphal arch with a chronogram spelling the year 1722, and an aquatic fireworks display complete with Adonis or Eros (the “god of love”) standing atop a cave, bearded male personifications of the five rivers of Bavaria, tritons and dolphins, and in the background the castle of Berg.
The edition may have been reserved mainly for presentation. The Dumbarton Oaks and Bavarian State Library copies are both in presentation bindings, that of the BSB copy being in gold-tooled parchment that is virtually identical to this binding.
The text was published in German in 1723, without illustrations. OCLC gives a single US location (Dumbarton Oaks). VD18 14574985. Ruggieri 985 (misdating to 1713); Berlin Catalogue 2885; Vinet 713 (”volume fort rare”); Barbier Supplément col. 225; Thomas Rahn, Festbeschreibung: Funktion und Topik einer Textsorte am Beispiel der Beschreibung höfischer Hochzeiten, 1568-1794 (Tübingen: Niemeyer, 2006), no. 160. Item #4059