Large folio (429 x 290 mm). , 76 pages, printed on thick paper. Etched and engraved frontispiece by Benjamin Kenckel after Antonio Beduzzi, 11 engraved plates of which 6 full-sheet (double-page) and one double-sheet and folding, by Johann Andreas Pfeffel and Christian Engelbrecht after Johann Cyriak Hackhofer; two large woodcut head-pieces, letterpress initials. Light dust-stain at gutters of a few plates, otherwise a fine, fresh copy. Contemporary speckled calf, spine in seven silver-gilt-tooled compartments, board edges also decoratively tooled, edges sprinkled red and blue (covers rubbed, head of spine chipped, slight worming to pastedown endpapers). Provenance: a member of the Tyrolean noble family of Brandis, engraved armorial bookplate with the initials H.A.G.V.B. [H.A. Graf von Brandis]; remains of a red wax seal at top of spine.***
Only Edition of a splendid Viennese festival book, documenting in words and scrupulously detailed images the events and celebrations surrounding the Austrian Estates-General’s oath of allegiance to the new Holy Roman Emperor Charles VI, on 8 November 1712.
As stated in the title, the text contains a description of “the most remarkable events” that occurred between the death (from smallpox) of his older brother Emperor Joseph I, in April 1711 and the ceremonial festivities in Vienna 18 months later, which symbolically ratified Charles VI’s accession to the throne. Mair, a jurist, collected official correspondence and proclamations to document in this volume the solemn course of events. The fun, of course, is in the pictures, which show ceremonies, processions, and banquets attended by dozens of bewigged officials, but also, for the public events, hundreds of regular people. The large double-sheet folding plate (here in perfect condition), shows the procession from the royal court to St. Stephen’s Cathedral, through the main square of the Graben, with the huge Plague Column at the exact center of the image, and the famous Elephant House on the right; the square is filled with sinuous lines of officials, musicians, and soldiers, and onlookers — fashionably or humbly dressed men and women, children, a nursing mother, dogs — who line the edges of the square, hang out of every window, and occupy the front foreground.
Dogs appear in the foreground of most of the prints, but they clearly enjoy themselves most in the five banquet scenes. The most elegant banquet, of the top members of the Estates (pl. VII), shows not only the seated guests (all men) at an immense long table groaning with dishes, roasts, pies, etc., but also the huge crowd of staff managing the event. Other meals of less elevated town representatives (including guild officials) eat in smaller rooms with less fuss, but the food and drink appear to flow as abundantly.
Such events being somewhat generic, the 11 plates had previously appeared seven years earlier, with slight variations, in a different festival book, Ludwig Gülich’s Erbhuldigung, describing a meeting with the Estates-General of the previous Emperor. Unique to this edition is the marvelous perspectival frontispiece, showing an emblematic crowning of the Emperor by three graces with a laurel wreath, inconspicuously depicted and lightly etched at the center of an unusually low-angled scene, so that the viewer/reader looks up through the dizzily receding heights and vaults of the cathedral toward a crowded balcony high above.
I locate 3 copies in American libraries (Harvard, Folger & National Gallery of Art). VD 18 10221336; Berlin-Katalog 2877; Ruggieri (Catalogue des livres rares et precieux composant la bibliotheque de M.E.-F.-D. Ruggieri) 983; Lipperheidesche Kostümbibliothek 2625 (= 2nd edition: Sc12); Vinet, Bibliographie méthodique et raisonnée des beaux-arts 677; Bibliotheca Viennensis 1757. Item #4230