Item #11454 Les contenances de la table.
Les contenances de la table.
FOR CHILDREN OF EVERY SOCIAL RANK

Les contenances de la table.

[Lyon], Pierre Mareschal and Barnabé Chaussard c. 1503.

4to (195 x 124 mm.). [i], [6]p. Bâtarde type (91-2 text), 30 lines per page, asterisks in the right margin, paragraph mark at each stanza, title with a white-line woodcut L, two large letterpress Maltese crosses and a Mareschal-Chaussard woodcut device (Baudrier XI: 468 Marque 2bis “première cassure en 1503”; Polain, Marques 58).

Jansenist red morocco (Lortic), gilt-lettered spine and board edges, turn-ins gilt à la dentelle.

ONE OF THE EARLIEST TEXTS IN FRENCH EXPRESSLY FOR CHILDREN — ADVICE ON TABLE MANNERS AND GOOD CONDUCT. With 12th-century Latinate roots, these thirty-seven quatrains reflect and reveal contemporary customs like the use of a common glass for the entire table, the bare-handed service and consumption of food (no forks) and the drinking of wine by all ages.
            Each stanza begins the instruction with “Child,…”. Among the admonitions are not sitting down with dirty hands or fingernails, not serving oneself first, not returning chewed food to one’s plate, not dipping food into the salt cellar, not complaining when a favorite dish is prematurely removed, not boasting, not whispering to another, not conversing with one’s mouth full, not belching or farting, avoiding gluttony, and so on. Intended to be learned by heart, the order of the verses varies in different printings, suggesting that they were typeset from memory (here a line has been dropped). The closing ballade offers more general guidance in the same vein, and its three stanzas also begin “Child,…”. Two versions of the work reached print, one of thirty distichs (sixty lines) and that offered here, the most fully developed, with one hundred seventy-seven lines.
            Fourteen editions survive, none dated, and all but two recorded in a single example (of two no copy is presently located). Mareschal and Chaussard accounted for half of the known production to 1510. They specialized in popular vernacular literature produced on demand and likely sold over the counter for cash, of which this is an example — a single quire ornamented only by the striking white-line title initial and identified by their woodcut device (which dates the edition). In good condition (washed, small portions of two lower blank corners neatly supplied), bookplate of J. and H. Bon.
¶Vicaire, Bibliographie gastronomique 207-8; Glixelli, “ Les ‘Contenances de la Table’” in Romania 47 (1921) 1-40, esp. 5-11 & 36-40; Montandon, Bibliographie des traités de savoir-vivre en Europe du Moyen âge à nos jours I: 11; Baudrier, Bibliographie lyonnaise XI: 483; GW VII col. 32; CIBN I p. 586 “[c. 1504]”; BSB-Ink C-532 “nicht vor 1503”; ISTC ic00869700.

Item #11454

Price: $35,000.00