4 vols. bound in 2, complete but 2 blanks cut away in vols. III and IV; title-page printed in red and black, with engraved frontispiece and armorial head-piece in vol. I, and a total of 167 portraits by Eisen, Descamps and Campion, many engraved by Ficquet but also Basan, Legrand, Benoist, etc.; title-page of vol. I a little dust-soiled, but a very crisp and clean set, with the portraits in fine dark impressions, bound in contemporary green morocco, flat gilt spine, gilt edges.
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First edition of the painter Descamps’ biographies of Flemish, German and Dutch masters. In all there are eighty biographies from the Renaissance to 1706. In his preface Descamps outlines the limitations of his predecessors, his purpose, and his printed sources. The Lives include a list of the principal paintings by each master, as well as critical evaluations of the work known to Descamps.
The book is particularly valued for the fine portraits of the painters, which appear as half-page head-pieces at the top of each biography. The last portrait in vol. IV, that of Cornille Troost, on p. 291 has not been inserted in our copy although there is space for it at the top of the page.
Cicognara 2253, Cohen /de Ricci 287; Arntzen/ Rainwater, H88; Schlosser Magnino, p. 478.
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