[Paris], Henri Gissey 1656 (altered in contemporary manuscript to 1662).
4to (197 x 136 mm.). Etched architectural title with the dedicatee’s arms, Gissey’s etched dedication and TWENTY-FIVE ETCHED EMBLEMS PRINTED ON RECTOS ONLY (Nicolas Cochin after Gissey).
GILT-RULED EARLY EIGHTEENTH-CENTURY CITRON MOROCCO, spine and title gilt, edges mottled red and blue.
[GISSEY, Henri]. 1621-1673.
[Emblems & Devices of the 1662 Carrousel. Paris, H. Gissey 1662]. 4to. FIFTY-FIVE UNSIGNED ETCHED LEAVES OF EMBLEMS PRINTED ON RECTOS ONLY.
MANCINI, Alphonse. 1644-1658.
[Emblems in Praise of Cardinal Mazarin. Caption title:] Eminentissimo Cardinali…tu celebrando nomini…. [Paris], s.n. . 4to. TITLE AND SEVEN ETCHED LEAVES OF EMBLEMS PRINTED ON RECTOS ONLY (Cochin after Gissey; numbered 1-8 in early manuscript).
THESE THREE FUGITIVE EMBLEM SUITES CIRCULATED PRIVATELY, FOR PRESENTATION ONLY. In or soon after 1662 they were gathered in the order they are now.
Close to Louis XIV from childhood and long living in apartments adjoining the king’s at the Louvre, Henri Gissey oversaw the workshops that provisioned royal ceremonies, theatrical entertainments, coronations, festivals and funerals. He managed every detail in the production of the luxury items that accompanied public projections of royal power.
The first two of these beautiful souvenirs record the emblems and devices chosen and carried by the king and his companions in the equestrian festivals of March 1656 (when Louis still followed Mazarin’s direction), and in June 1662, when Louis XIV symbolically announced his personal rule of France (after the birth of a son and the death of his chief counselor). The third set of emblems Gissey executed for the favorite nephew of Cardinal Mazarin.
Ad I: In 1656 for a splendid Run at the Ring, the seventeen-year-old LOUIS XIV CHOSE TO DECORATE HIS SHIELD WITH THE SUN, the symbol linked thereafter with him. Gissey’s prints memorialize this premier. I have located three examples in the U.S.
Ad II: In 1662, married with a male heir and governing on his own, Louis commissioned a magnificent two-day equestrian spectacle, and Gissey again etched the emblems. I have located one copy in the U.S.
Ad III: Age twelve in 1656, Alphonse Mancini, Mazarin’s favorite nephew, commissioned Gissey to execute these eight poignant emblems for his uncle, the Cardinal, who, on the boy’s death two years later, withdrew from society for months. I have not located a copy outside Paris.
Bound in is a folding plate with the obverse and reverse of an emblematic medal struck c. 1708/9 (numbered 9 in early manuscript).
The bibliophile Jean-Baptiste Denis Guyon de Sardière (1674-1759) signed the first and last leaf of the volume (Catalogue (1759) 1156). This may have figured among his purchases made in 1724 from the library of Château d’Anet, property of the dukes of Vendôme. Gissey was an intimate of François de Vendôme duc de Beaufort, and, in August 1669, directed his funeral at Nôtre-Dame.
In fine condition.
¶On the 1656 and 1662 emblems (I-II):
Adams et al., A Bibliography of French Emblem Books F.271; Saunders, The Seventeenth Century French Emblem 18 & 279-81; Castelluccio, Les Carrousels en France du XVIe au XVIIIe siècles 20-32, 147-9 & reprod. 150-69; Moine, Les Fêtes à la cour du Roi soleil 73-6; Vanuxem, “Des fétes de Louis XIV au Baroque allemand” in Cahiers de l’Association internationale des études françaises 9 (1957) 91-102; AKL 55: 367-9.
¶On the 1656 emblems (I):
Praz, Studies in 17th-Century Imagery 354 “Rare”; Watanabe-O’Kelly & Simon, Festivals and Ceremonies A Bibliography 1825; Ruggieri, Catalogue (1873) 487 “fort rare”; Gérin-Pierre, “H. Gissey, C. Vigarani et les premières fêtes de Versailles” in Gaspare & Carlo Vigarani…de la Cour…de Louis XIV edd. Baricchi & La Gorce 309-10; BN, Inventaire du fonds francais…XVIIe siècle 3: 67,770-94; Bossuet, Catalogue des livres relatifs à…Paris (1888) 1937 “très rare”; Montaiglon, H. de Gissey…Dessinateur ordinaire des plaisirs et des ballets du roi 9-10.
¶On the Mazarin emblems of 1656 (III):
Montaiglon, “Inédits sur les artistes français” in Revue universelle des arts 6 (1857) 252-4; BN, IFF…XVIIe 3: 69,799-806; Thieme-Becker 14: 201; Loskoutoff, “Fascis cum sideribus II, les devises du cardinal Mazarin” in Journal des savants (2003) 186-9.