[Paris], Henri Gissey 1656 (altered in contemp.
4to (197 x 136 mm.). Etched architectural title with the dedicatee’s arms, Gissey’s etched dedication & TWENTY-FIVE ETCHED EMBLEMS (Nicolas Cochin after Gissey; numbered 1-25 in the plates). GILT RULED EARLY EIGHTEENTH-CENTURY CITRON MOROCCO, corner-&-center spine ornament, gilt lettered title, marbled pastedowns & flyleaves, edges mottled red & blue. In or soon after 1662 these three were stabbed in the order they are now, and the 1656 title neatly altered in manuscript to 1662 ?by the artist. FOR PRESENTATION ONLY, THESE FUGITIVE EMBLEM SUITES CIRCULATED PRIVATELY. Two of these intimate souvenirs record the emblems and devices selected for and worn by the seventeen-year-old king and twenty-three companions in their equestrian festival of March 1656 and the emblems borne six years later by Louis XIV and fifty-four companions in their famous Carrousel of June 1662, which symbolically announced his independent rule of France. In 1656, Gissey executed the final emblem suite for the favorite nephew of Cardinal Mazarin, the effective head of government until his death in 1661. 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 these public projections of royal power. Ad I: In 1656, the seventeen-year-old Louis XIV commissioned a splendid Run at the Ring, where he rode as the Emperor of the Ancient Romans for the honor of his love interest, Marie Mancini, a niece of Mazarin. Performing masked in sumptuous costumes, the three teams (quadrilles) each had eight members, who individually selected the iconographies and mottoes of their shields, by which they were known to the crowds. HERE FOR THE FIRST TIME IN PUBLIC, LOUIS XIV TOOK THE SYMBOL OF THE SUN FOR HIS OWN. Gissey capitalized on this premier by permanently memorializing the allegorical identities in prints. I have located seven examples outside Paris (Harvard, Folger, Berlin, Munich, Vienna, Aix, Glasgow). The bibliophile Jean-Baptiste Denis Guyon de Sardière (d. 1759) signed the first and last leaf of the volume (Cat. (1759) 1156). In 1724 he bought much of the library of the dukes of Vendôme housed at Château d’Anet, owned at the time these emblem suites were printed by François de Vendôme duc de Beaufort (1616-69), whose funeral Gissey directed at Nôtre-Dame in August 1670. In fine condition.On the 1656 and 1662 festival emblems:Adams et al., A Bib. 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 internat. des études françaises 9 (1957) 91-102; AKL 55: 367-9.On the 1656 festival emblems:Praz, Studies in 17th-Century Imagery 354 “Rare”; Watanabe-O’Kelly & Simon, Festivals and Ceremonies A Bib. 1825; Ruggieri, Cat. (1873) 487 “fort rare”; Gérin-Pierre, “Henri Gissey, Carlo Vigarani et les premières fêtes de Versailles” in G. & C. Vigarani de la Cour de Louis XIV edd. Baricchi & La Gorce 309-10; BN, IFF XVIIe siècle 3: 67,770-94; Bossuet, Cat. des livres relatifs à Paris (1888) 1937 “très rare”; Montaiglon, H. de Gissey Dessinateur ordinaire des plaisirs et des ballets du roi 9-10. Item #8527