Les Monumens de la monarchie françoise qui comprennent l'histoire de France, avec les figures de chaque règne que l'injure des tems a épargnées
Julien-Michel Gandouin & Pierre-François Giffart in Paris 1729-1733 | 5 volumes folio (30 x 44 cm) contemporary full calf
First edition of Monuments de la monarchie françoise
by Bernard de Montfaucon, comprising 5 in-folio volumes complete with their insert plates (see Cohen 731-732). The illustration, as remarkable as it is abundant, is composed of 306 etched plates, including 113 double folding pages, an equestrian portrait of Louis XV
in the first volume by C. Mathey, an ornamental copper headpiece with the King's coat of arms, 6 wood-engraved title vignettes, 6 copper engraved historical ornamental headpieces, wood-engraved ornamental headpieces and culs-de-lampe. With contents table and index.
Full contemporary calf binding, spine in six compartments, red morocco title piece and green morocco volume labels, panels between the compartments richly decorated with gilt fleurons, double blind tooling on the plates, gilt roll tooling on the leading edges, chaffed patches and small pieces missing due to worming on the plates, spine-ends, corners and leading edges. Occasional worming in the margins without loss of text. Marbled endpapers repaired in the margins.
Founding work on medieval museography, the monumental and undeniably prolific undertaking on monuments and objects of the Middle Ages constitutes a true imaginary museum of the origins of the French nation. Despite his shared opinion on the medieval period, which he himself described as “coarse times
”, Bernard de Montfaucon (1655-1741), a Benedictine monk of the Saint-Maur congregation, was among the first to take interest in the “centuries of barbarism” and to become aware of the gradual disappearance of a national heritage that is indispensable for the understanding of French history.
Thanks to the support of the Mauritian network scattered throughout France and to the methodological and scientific rigour of these scholars, Montfaucon constitutes a chronological repertoire of images reproducing French sculptures, works of art, seals, illuminations or monuments. Among the most notable are the 15 plates reproducing the Bayeux tapestry for the first time.
Each image is accompanied with its description and a text giving the history of each reign. Bernard de Montfaucon thus explains the fabric of history through the prism of pieces of art. He justifies his historical bias in his preface: “I do not claim to give the history of France in its entirety: but it will be more detailed than all the summaries, and it will have this advantage over the others, that it represents a very large number of figures taken from the originals of the times”.
Provenance: Count Seguin de Broin's printed with his ex-libris on the paste-down endpapers on some of the volumes (gules coat of arms with a passing gold adder, an azure chief with three silver stars), etched by Louis Gabriel Monnier in 1764.
These are in all likelihood the arms of Edme Seguin de Broin (1695-1783), successively Receiver of taxes of the bailiwick of Nuits, Receiver of spices at the Dijon Chamber of Accounts, Secretary to the King at the Dijon Parliament, and Lord of Broin and Bonnencontre, at the origin of the Seguin de Broin dynasty, in Dijon.
Ex-libris printed with the arms of the Baron de Nervo on the paste-down endpapers of the volumes. This precious library, formed by Admiral Olympe-Christophe, first Baron de Nervo (1765-1835), was later greatly enriched by his great-grandson, the bibliophile Jean de Nervo (1881-1934), who gathered in his château de Montmarie, in Auvergne, a collection of 20,000 volumes.