An absolutely stunning binding, it this is a rare first edition, first printing. It documents legendary rise and fall of the great king, Louis XIV. This illustrious king was known as "Le Roy Soleil, The Sun King" from his accession to the throne in 1643. In French history, he was a sensational symbol of both absolute authority and infinite power.
Within this impressive edition, more than forty sumptuous color engravings illustrate the course of France's most famous king. It was published by Gustave Toudouze (Paris, 1904, Ancienne Librairie Furne) and gives a fascinating glimpse of the life in Versailles, its intrigues , courtiers, history and splendors.
The binding is a work of art unto itself. It is the work of Engel (great publisher of spectacular bindings, at the end of his life there were 450 spectacular bindings created including Jules Verne). The binding is of hard board which is covered in navy toile (fabric which was treated to bind to the board and have the appearance of leather). An amazingly detailed cover illustration was created with the stamped application of many color plaques. The rays of the sun are gilded, the horse incredibly lifelike. The detailing in the clothing, facial expressions and stance of both horse and man are mesmerizing.
The forty color illustrations include a magnificent double page center. Leloir's illustrations are outstanding and the book is a collector's dream. 92 pages (each hinged individually into book) bring to life this magnificent period in French history. Each page is a study unto itself, as meticulous detail was placed in backgrounds, foregrounds, clothing, expressions and action. This first edition, first printing features endpapers of Japanese paper, gilt and royal blue with repeating suns and a crowned world. The page edges are gilded and the French text is easily read by and intermediate student of French.
It measures 14" x 12" x 1" thick. It is in good antique condition: The front cover retains original color with little fading; light wear to edges as expected. The back cover has spotting where the color has left the blue toile. The very first blank page and the title page pulling away from the spine at the interior. The remaining singly mounted pages are attached. The spine has wear typical with age.
It is an amazing work of art produced over 100 years ago. It is a fantastic tribute and documentation of the life of the the regal and dazzling Sun King.
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Fine French Small Antiques; Gilded Bronze, Objets of Vertu, Antique Books, Napoleon III, Porte Montre, Cast Bronze