Paris: Abbé de la Chau and Abbé Le Blond, 1780 and 1784. Hardcover. These two sumptuous French volumes describe the Duc of Orléans's magnificent collection of pierre gravées - "engraved stones or gems" - that was acquired over the years. This was the collection of Louis Philippe (1725-1785) that was inherited by his son Louis Philippe II (1747-1798), The son had the collection for two years but it was sold to Catherine, Empress of Russia in 1787. The volumes include descriptions of every stone included along with beautiful and intricate engravings of each. Most of the subjects are the Greek and Roman divinities. There are also a number of vignettes and cul de lampes throughout the text. There is also an engraving of the Duc designed by the artist Charles-Nicolas Cochin. The two folio volumes are bound in brown speckled calf skin, with gilt rulings to edges of covers, and gilt titling and ornaments to spine compartments. Leather is scuffed and mottled, and gilt has faded in places, with a skillfully rebacked spine in both volumes. Marbled paper endpapers. All edges gilt. Interior pages are in very good to near fine condition. Volume I, published in 1780, is 303 pages; Volume II, published in 1784, is 215 pages. Small folios measuring 8 x 12.5 inches. ART/122820. Very Good.
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Paris: 1937. Paperback. Number 158 of 500 copies, the first 200 of which were reserved for the writers of the book. This remarkable deluxe collection of writings and art about Paris was commissioned by the city of Paris to celebrate their hosting the World’s Fair of 1937. The volume includes original prose, poetry, and illustrations by the leading writers and artists of France. There are thirty-one sections on various quarters, neighborhoods, gardens, avenues and boulevards, each with a short piece written by an eminent writer and engravings by two notable artists. For each section there is a full-page illustration by an artist associated with the area and a smaller one on the first page of the section by the other artist. Among the writers are Paul Valery, Raymond Escholier, Colette, Paul Claudel, Abel Bonnard, and Jules Romains. The participating artists are equally impressive, and include Matisse, Andre Derain, Raoul Dufy, Marie Laurencin, Pierre Bonnard, Edouard Vuillard, Jean Laboureur, and Andre Lhote. Each section is a separate folder with the full-page illustration of the following section as its last page. The folders are encased in a paper wrapper with the title and a color illustration on its cover. The entire production is housed in a chemise of dark blue paper covered boards with a red leather spine label which fits into a blue paper and linen slipcase. The slipcase is in very good condition with a few chips and bumps. The contents are also in very good condition; however, pages 286-288 are missing. They included the full-page illustration by Gabriel Belot and Renefer for “Les Musees.” Page 277, the first page of “Les Eglises de Paris” has a repaired tear. Still, a splendid collection of French art and prose commemorating Paris on the eve of the Second World War. 294 pages plus table of illustrations. ART/012412. Very Good.