18mo, pp. 43, [1 blank], with 5 engraved plates; very light offsetting from plates; very good in contemporary yellow paper boards, decorative border of light blue paper with gold spots to covers; a little wear to extremities; inscribed to front free endpaper ‘Donné par l’auteur’; upper cover inscribed ‘A Madame Gillet (née Rodrigue)'.
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Dithyrambes, ou petites élégies; dédiées à Madame Le Pédour, Annette-Sergent Pain (de Rochefort); par M. de La Serrie (de la Vendée); avec cinq sujets dessinés et gravés soigneusement de sa main.
Very rare first edition of this collection of twenty-one elegies composed by the writer, artist and engraver François-Joseph de La Serrie (1770–1819), largely inspired by the deaths of his two daughters Marie Louise Aspasie, who died aged 15 in 1812, and Marie Rosalie-Cecile Virginie, who passed away three years later at the age of 23.
The occasionally moving verse – in élégie XV the author struggles to explain his daughter’s death to his grandson – dwells on the themes of death, sorrow, hope, friendship, prayer and faith. The handsome accompanying plates, also by the author, depict Mary and the infant Jesus, his daughters’ tombs, St Cecilia, and St Similien of Nantes. The notes at the end include interesting passages on ancient libraries and on printers, including praise for the Didot family.
La Serrie’s works – which range across literature, philosophy and art, and include a life of Mary, Queen of Scots – were carefully printed in small numbers and distributed to his friends. This copy was presented by the author to a Madame Gillet.
Only one copy traced on OCLC, at the BnF. Not in Quérard.
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