Lyon, B. Rigaud 1587.
16mo (116 mm.). 16p. OVAL WOODCUT BUST PORTRAIT OF THE DEDICATEE ON THE TITLE (36 x 30 mm.), ruled in red.
Crushed red morocco with gilt olive wreath medallions (E. Thomas), gilt turn-ins, gilt spine title, all edges gilt; in a chemise and folding morocco box (Alix).
In this Renaissance bouquet of eight-line verses written in the first person, twenty-five fruits and flowers proffer their particular medicinal virtues and moral or symbolic meanings. The poems combine elements of the newly fashionable emblem, the medieval bestiary and the shepherd’s calendar. This anonymous suite originally appeared in 1555, dedicated to Marguerite (or Daisy) de France (1523-74), daughter of François Ier.
A specialist in vernacular literature, Rigaud dedicated his booklet to another Daisy, the celebrated beauty Marguerite de Valois (1553-1615), Queen of Navarre and then of France. He placed her portrait, hair elaborately coiffed and covered in pearls, on the title. His Latin distich and vernacular quatrain to her announce the collection, which, in 1940, inspired Paul Éluard’s Blason des fleurs et fruits. Each of the half dozen surviving 16th-century editions are known by one or two examples. A jewel, in fine condition, from the library of Lyonese bibliographer Joseph Renard (Catalogue (1881) 623).
¶Baudrier, Bibliographie lyonnaise III: 399 (this copy); Gültlingen, Bibliographie des livres imprimés à Lyon au 16e siècle XII: 1223 (after Baudrier); Saunders, The Sixteenth-Century Blason poétique 194-6, 299 & 340.