Item #11961 Rebvs Ov Logogrifhe Dédiées À Son Altesse Royal[e] Madame La Dvchesse De Bery. Jean-Baptiste Oudry.
Rebvs Ov Logogrifhe Dédiées À Son Altesse Royal[e] Madame La Dvchesse De Bery.
Rebvs Ov Logogrifhe Dédiées À Son Altesse Royal[e] Madame La Dvchesse De Bery.
Rebvs Ov Logogrifhe Dédiées À Son Altesse Royal[e] Madame La Dvchesse De Bery.
Rebvs Ov Logogrifhe Dédiées À Son Altesse Royal[e] Madame La Dvchesse De Bery.
Rebvs Ov Logogrifhe Dédiées À Son Altesse Royal[e] Madame La Dvchesse De Bery.
PAINTER’S PUZZLES FOR A PROMISCUOUS PRINCESS

Rebvs Ov Logogrifhe Dédiées À Son Altesse Royal[e] Madame La Dvchesse De Bery.

Paris, Jean-Baptiste Oudry [1716].

Oblong 8vo (148 x 198 mm.). Etched title-page with Pierrot and Harlequin presenting a curtain lettered with the title, and FORTY ETCHED PLATES OF REBUSES — THE WHOLE IN CAREFUL CONTEMPORARY HAND COLOR. The puzzles often have up to fifty individual elements.

CONTEMPORARY GILT BROWN MOROCCO, a wide frame of partly pointillé drawer handles and foliage, in the center THE ARMS OF THE DEDICATEE, MARIE-LOUISE-ÉLISABETH D’ORLÉANS, DUCHESSE DE BERRY joined with those of her deceased husband Charles, spine richly gilt and gilt-lettered.

            In January 1716, while in seclusion for the birth — then tragic death — of her second natural child, the twenty-year-old widowed dedicatee, Marie-Louise-Élisabeth d’Orléans, Duchess of Berry (1696-1719), received from the talented and fashionable painter J.-B. Oudry this ingenious suite of picture riddles of love, seduction and morality(!). He created and designed the forty playful prints based on prose and verse solutions of his own composition to amuse and distract the young duchess and her intimates at so difficult a time.
            Then much in vogue at the French royal court headed by Philippe II Duke d’Orléans, Regent of France and Marie-Louise-Élisabeth’s father, rebuses combine elements of emblems, heraldry, cryptography, mnemonics, hieroglyphs and personal pictorial marks of ownership. The present rebus set incorporates individual letters, syllables and, on occasion, entire words into the image series in a nod to logogriphs. A few rhymes are topical, i.a., the Regent’s rule (no. 2), the Persian ambassador’s visit to Paris (no. 4) and the Queen of England (no. 11). One is literary, built around Corneille, Racine, Molière, Boileau and Descartes (no. 19), and others are just silly, featuring cats eating beef spleen (no. 10), the contradictory effects of wine (no. 28) and nonsense rhymes (no. 38). Nearly all the remainder concern romance, its rewards, pains and pitfalls.
            Oudry offered this oblong album for sale at his house, though apparently most copies were distributed by the duchess as the picture puzzles were “in-jokes of a particular social group” (Barber). I have traced the following examples —  1) BnF Dépt. des estampes Db 23 (1) (leaves cut out and mounted on folio leaves in a later album with other Oudry cuts; 40 plates only), 2) BnF Dépt. des estampes KH MAT-5 (leaves cut out and mounted on folio leaves in a later album with other games; number of plates not known), 3) BnF 8-H-28477 (later calf-backed drab boards, lacking plates 2-3 and the final leaf of solutions; not colored; La Vallière-Paulmy ex.), 4) Destailleur-Rothschild (Waddesdon Manor; lacking the four solution leaves; colored), 5) Morgand (without the dedication and solution leaves — ?the present example; colored), 6) that offered here. In good condition (some hand soiling, a few ink spots), Madame de Prime and Riberac in early manuscript, bookplate of the Belgian collector Fernand J. Nyssen (1893-1964).
¶Opperman, Jean-Baptiste Oudry I: 35 & II: E4 & E10-E49 & Fig. 36;Castex, “Le Livre de Rébus ou Logogriphes  gravés par J.-B. Oudry: un péché de jeunesse?” in Jeux de mots en images: Brève histoire du rébus français, armoiries parlantes, almanachs du XVIIe siècle… ed. Préaud Revue de la Bibliothèque nationale de France (2004) 18: 57-69; Robert-Dumesnil, Le Peintre-Graveur français II: 193-201,8 & 14-53; Brunet IV: 260 (?after Robert-Dumesnil); Locquin, Catalogue raisonné de l’œuvre de J.-B. Oudry, peintre du roi (1686-1755) 1271; Cohen & de Ricci, Guide de l'amateur de livres à gravures du XVIIIe siècle 767 (Destailleur-Rothschild ex.); Destailleur, Catalogue de livres rares et précieux (13.IV.1891) 976 (now Rothschild, Waddesdon Manor); Barber et al., The James A. de Rothschild Bequest at Waddesdon Manor. Printed Books and Bookbindings no. 525; Librairie Damascene Morgand, Bulletin mensuel N.S. 5 (1907) 675 (?this ex.); Santi, Bibliografia della enigmistica 418; Schenck, Das Bilderrätsel 27, 60-62, 179 & Abb. 50.

Item #11961

Price: $44,000.00