COLLECTOR’S CONCEIT

L’Architecture de Vitruve. Figures dessinées par M. Ch.-L. Maufras, …. Exemplaire unique.

Paris, C.L.F. Panckoucke, 1847

8vo, ff. [2] (title-page and preface, printed on one side only), and 116 wood-engraved plates, India paper proofs mounted on sheets of Papier de Hollande; uncut, occasional light spotting but a fine copy in contemporary red crushed half morocco gilt and red marbled boards, richly gilt spine, lettered at foot ‘Exemplaire Unique’, top edge gilt.

£1200

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A tongue-in-cheek nod to the fashion for Limited Edition books, and an illustrative oddity. The volume comprises India paper proof impressions mounted on heavy paper of Maufras’s illustrations (engraved by Belhatte) to the Panckoucke edition of Vitruvius, with a specially printed title-page and long preface, signed ‘J.C.’ (the author, bibliographer, and book collector J. Chenu). Chenu’s affectionate parody of the book, ‘Il n’existe que 25 exemplaires de cette pièce, de cette facétie, de ce lai, de ce roman!’ elevates the mundane to the desirable that is the Limited Edition.

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