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Detailed record for Harley 4377

Author André Felibien, Charles Perrault
Title Emblems for tapestries of king Louis XIV of France on the themes of the four elements and the four seasons (Devises pour les tapisseries du roy, ou sont representez les quatre elemens et les quatre saisons de l'anneé)
Origin France, Central (Paris)
Date 1669
Language French
Script Humanistic cursive and Humanistic
Artists Jacques Bailly
Decoration Title pages with hand-painted copperplate engravings in colours and gold (ff. 1, 4, 21). Frontispiece with a hand-painted copperplate engraving in colours and gold (f. 2). Dedication pages with hand-painted engravings in colours and gold (ff. 3, 22). 32 full-page hand-painted engravings in colours and gold; 16 on the theme of the four elements and 16 on the theme of the four seasons, with verses celebrating the virtues of King Louis XIV of France (ff. 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12, 13, 14, 15, 16, 17, 18, 19, 20, 23, 24, 25, 26, 27, 28, 29, 30, 31, 32, 33, 34, 35, 36, 37, 38).
Dimensions in mm 440 x 310 (350 x 225)
Official foliation ff. 38 (+ 3 unfoliated paper flyleaves at the beginning and at the end)
Form Paper codex
Binding Post-1600. Contemporary red leather with gold tooling, with armorial of king Louis XIV (1638-1715) inscribed in black ink in a cursive hand, 'No. sept'; marbled endpapers.
Provenance Louis XIV, king of France (b. 1638, d. 1715): his armorial binding.
Thomas Ballard, bookseller and book auctioneer in London; his sale, 20 February 1720/21, lot 68, bought for Edward Harley through Nathaniel Noel (see Wright and Wright 1966; Wright 1972).
The Harley Collection, formed by Robert Harley (b. 1661, d. 1724), 1st earl of Oxford and Mortimer, politician, and Edward Harley (b. 1689, d. 1741), 2nd earl of Oxford and Mortimer, book collector and patron of the arts.
Edward Harley bequeathed the library to his widow, Henrietta Cavendish, née Holles (b. 1694, d. 1755) during her lifetime and thereafter to their daughter, Margaret Cavendish Bentinck (b. 1715, d. 1785), duchess of Portland; the manuscripts were sold by the Countess and the Duchess in 1753 to the nation for £10,000 (a fraction of their contemporary value) under the Act of Parliament that also established the British Museum; the Harley manuscripts form one of the foundation collections of the British Library.
Notes Engravings by Sebastien Le Clerc.
The 'devises' (emblems), featured in the borders of the tapestries are based on miniature paintings by Jacques Bailly (b. 1629, d. 1679), painter to King Louis XIV and Royal Academician, designed these emblems for tapestries that were woven at the Gobelins factory. The central panels were designed by Charles Le Brun. These tapestries are 'the first set to be wholly designed and executed at the newly established Manufacture Royale de Tapisserie des Gobelins' (see Florian Knothe, Tapestry in the Baroque: Threads of Splendor (New York: Metropolitan Museum of Art, 2007, p. 356).
2 blank paper flyeaves after f. 1.
1 blank paper leaf after ff. 4, 8, 12, 22, 26, 30, 34.
Select bibliography A Catalogue of the Harleian Manuscripts in the British Museum, 4 vols (London: Eyre and Strahan, 1808-12), III (1808), no. 4377.

The Diary of Humfrey Wanley 1715-1726, ed. by Cyril Ernest Wright and Ruth C. Wright, 2 vols (London: Bibliographical Society, 1966), I: 1715-1723, p. 80 n. 14.

Cyril Ernest Wright, Fontes Harleiani: A Study of the Sources of the Harleian Collection of Manuscripts in the British Museum (London: British Museum, 1972), pp. 62, 227.

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