Paris: Chez Sallior, Successor de Didot Jne., et Pernier..., An V de l'ère française, 1797. Item #4572
Paris: Chez Sallior, Successor de Didot Jne., et Pernier..., An V de l'ère française, 1797. Folio, 270 x 210 mm, loose, uncut bifolio sheets, laid into a custom morocco chemise and cloth slipcase. Portrait of Rabelais and 60 engravings, each appearing on a bifolium sheet, with the facing page blank, all hand-colored and heightened in gilt at time of publication. Early scholarly annotations throughout.
A rare and exquisitely hand-colored copy of the Malapeau engravings, based upon the rare
woodcuts of the 1565 edition. The sheets have never been sewn or bound; the hand-colouring
is exquisite and executed with a extreme degree of skill. We believe this to be sheets from an
otherwise unknown issue or edition produced by Sallio. The imprint is recorded as "An V de
l'ère française, 1797" whereas Brunet claims that it was published by Sallior "vers 1797" -- the
Bibliothèque Nationale exposition states that Sallior published it in "An V" -- and Plan records
Sallior's imprint as: "An V de l'ère française (1797)" -- therefore the present imprint is unrecorded,
as is Malapeau's engraved portrait of Rabelais.
The presence of conjugate blank sheets on every leaf further suggests that the volume represents
Sallior's mock-up; the scholarly notes in the blank margins throughout suggest that the volume may
have been in the possession of someone closely associated with the publication project.
Plan effectively dismissed the idea that the work was by Rabelais, and Porcher’s research pins the
author down as François Desprez. The attribution to Pantagruel was apparently one of spirit and
marketing only. Considered one of the great fantastic works of the Renaissance, the introductory claim that these images were intended for youth and their masquerades is belied by the grotesque nature of these images, frequently involving bound and confounding erections, weapons of war, and other Boschean aspects. One of the great illustrated books of the Renaissance.
Some minor foxing; overall an excellent copy in original, unsophisticated condition, brilliantly handcoloured and heightened in gold. Very rare: not in NUC, RLIN, OCLC, or BMC Online; not in
ABPC CD-ROM. Hand-coloured copies are extremely rare.
Plan, Bibliographie Rabelaisienne p. 244-5. J. Porcher, Exposition Rabelais, Bibliothèque
Nationale, 1933, p. 183. Cohen-De Ricci 843. Brunet 1066.