Folio, pp. , 256, , with engraved frontispiece portrait and 61 copper-engraved plates; copper-engraved vignettes to title and dedication, title printed in red and black, woodcut initials and ornaments throughout; minimally toned, title slightly foxed, marginal tear to 3Q2 and pl. 55; a very good copy in modern calf-backed boards with paste-paper sides and green vellum tips, spine gilt in compartments, one lettered directly in gilt, patterned endpapers; sunned, very lightly rubbed with bumping at extremities, a few small damp-stains; twentieth-century ink ownership stamps to title.
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La parfaite connoissance des chevaux, leur anatomie, leurs bonnes & mauvaises qualitez, leurs maladies & les remedes qui y conviennent.
First edition of Gaspard de Saunier’s most important work, the only one published during his lifetime. Gaspard de Saunier (1663 - 1748) established his reputation with the foundation of his equestrian academy at Leiden in 1707 and as riding master to the university there, having previously served as equerry to several notable nobles in France and practised at the French royal stables with his father, Jean de Saunier, ‘inspecteur de la grande écurie du roi’, who is credited by Gaspard as the original author of the text.
Gaspard de Saunier remains, however, a controversial figure: his youth was spent more on military campaigns abroad than studying with his father in the royal stables, and when in France he twice killed opponents while duelling, the second exile resulting in his eventual settlement at Leiden (where he was briefly imprisoned on another charge); his work has drawn harsh criticism, primarily from Mennessier de la Lance, for the similarity of the text to Solleysel and of the plates to Ruini. La parfaite connoissance des chevaux remains, however, among the most elegant and important works of horsemanship of the eighteenth century.
Mennessier de la Lance II, p. 490; Dejager 293; Dingley 550; not in Mellon.
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