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CABINET DU ROI
[Maisons royales. Intermediate issue. 1687/94?]
[Maisons royales et villes frontières de France.]
[Paris]: [Imprimerie Royale], [c. 1687-94?]
[36] engr. pl. (8 fold.) ; 48.6 cm. (2°)

This untitled collection of [36] unnumbered engravings (mainly by Israel Silvestre) consists of plans, elevations and views of the royal buildings of France, viz. the Palais Royal and College des Quatre Nations, the châteaux of Vincennes, Madrid, St Germain-en-Laye, Fontainebleau, Monceaux, Blois, Compiègne and Jametz, and the fortified frontier towns of Metz, Verdun, Sedan, Momédy, Stenay and Marsal. It represents an intermediate issue of the 'Maisons royales' plates from the 'Cabinet du Roi' in a state dateable to between 1686 and about 1694-5. (The latest plate to be included is an unsigned double-page plan of the re-siting of the church and convent of the Capuchins to make way for the future Place Vendôme proposed in a royal decree of 2 May 1686). In this form the present collection is generally known by the binding title 'Maisons royales et villes frontières de France'. Some copies of a probably earlier issue consist of 46 plates including, in addition to the 36 called for here, two plans and four views of the palace and gardens of the Tuileries by Silvestre (dated 1668-73); three orthogonal elevations (with ground-plans below) of the Louvre by 'J. Marotte', i.e. Jean Marot (dated 1678); and Sébastien Le Clerc's engraving of a proposed new Corinthian triumphal arch at the Porte St.- Antoine in Paris (dated 1679). Copies issued somewhat later than this one on the other hand can in principle include four plates not present here, viz.: plans with profile views of the fortifications at Namur (x2), Rosas and Charleroi, engraved by Pierre Le Pautre in or around 1695 (i.e. not long after the recapture of these frontier towns in 1692-3). However it is also possible that this group only became associated with Silvestre's much earlier views of Metz (1667), Verdun (1669), Sedan (n.d.), Montmédy (1669), Stenay (1670) and Marsal (1670) as a result of the re-arrangement of the 'Cabinet du Roi' in 1727 by Pierre de Clairambault in which the 'Maisons royales' plates were effectively re-distributed between three of the twenty-three volumes that by that time constituted a complete set (see BAL, Early printed books, nos. 518.D, 518.N and 518.O).

Louis XIV's important chalcographic [i.e. copperplate] collection, known as the 'Cabinet du Roi', was established by Colbert in 1663 with the intention of creating an encyclopaedic showcase for the flowering of the liberal arts and sciences in France under the beneficent influence of royal patronage. The two earliest volumes to contain plates engraved for the Cabinet du Roi were Tapisseries du Roy ... avec leurs explications (Paris 1670), and Courses de testes et de bague faittes par le Roy et par les princes ... en l'année 1662 [known as the 'Carrousel de 1662'] (Paris 1670, q.v.). Originally distributed solely by royal favour, the various individual recueils of 'Cabinet' engravings were subsequently offered for sale to the public in 1679 (at heavily subsidized prices), for which purpose some were provided with descriptive letterpress and a title-page bearing the imprint of Sebastien Mabre-Cramoisy, the director of the Imprimerie Royale. (For an example of a volume from this trade issue in Soane's library, see Cabinet du Roi, Statues et bustes antiques des maisons royales, première partie, Paris 1679, q.v.). Following Colbert's death in 1683 and the influx under Louvois of numerous blatantly propagandist engravings of sieges and battles, distribution of sets and individual volumes of the Cabinet du Roi reverted to that of diplomatic gift, marking the final abandonment of Colbert's original encyclopaedic ambitions for the series. After the appearance of a separately published descriptive catalogue in 1727 the content and arrangement of sets of the 'Cabinet' eventually stabilised into 23 folio volumes of engravings without letterpress or title-pages (for a full description of the work in this form see BAL, Early printed books, nos. 518 and 518.A-U).

Copy Notes Inscribed in bistre ink on verso of front free-endpaper 'B'. With two twin-sheet folding plates bound in as four separate double-page plates. Imperfect; wanting Israel Silvestre's perspective of the garden front of the château de Marimont (dated 1673).

The [35] plates present in this copy are arranged as follows:
[1] 'Plan General du Palais Royal Graué par la Boissiere en 1679.'
[2] 'Veuë du Palais Royal Dessigné et graué par la Boissiere en 1679.'
[3] 'Plan general du Chasteau et petit parc de Vincennes.' A later state (q.v.) is captioned in French and Latin at the foot of the plate and signed 'Isr. Siluestre scul. 1668.'
[4] 'Dessein du Portail de Vincenne en face de la cour pour entrer dans le parc. par le Sr. le Vau. Jean Marot sculpsit Dorbay delineavit.' Single page plate.
[5] 'Ueüe Et Perspectiue Du Chateau De Vincennes Du Costé De L'Entrée Du Parc. Dessigné et gravé par P. Brissart.'
[6] 'Plan du Chasteau de Madrid, auec la Court et le fossé qui l'enuironne. Plan du premier estage. Plan du rez de chaussée. J. Marotte sculps 1676.'
[7] 'Eleuation du Chasteau de Madrid. J. Marotte sculps. 1677.'
[8] 'Plan du Chasteau de St. Germain en Laye.' Unsigned and undated.
[9] 'Plan du Chasteau neuf de St. Germain en Laye. Israel Siluestre delin. et sculpsit 1667.' Caption at the foot of the plate; a later state (q.v.) has the caption along the longer side of the plate.
[10] 'Veue du Chateau Neuf de St. Germain en Laye. Israel Siluestre delineauit et sculpsit Cum Priuil Regis 1666.'
[11] 'Plan Général du Château de Fontainebleau et des Environs. Fait en 1682. Dorbay delineauit Sculpsit.'
[12] 'Plan du Château de Fontainebleau Au Rez de Chaussée. Fait en 1682. Dorbay delineavit Sculpsit.'
[13] 'Veüe de la Cour du Cheual blanc de Fontainebleau Israel Siluestre delin. et sculpsit 1667.'
[14] 'Veüe du Chasteau de Fontainebleau, du costé du Jardin Israel Siluestre delin. et sculpsit.' (left side of two plates intended to be joined together)
[14 bis] 'Prospectus Regiæ Fomntis-bellaquci [sic], quà hortos spectat.' (right side of two plates intended to be joined together)
[15] 'Veüe du Chasteau de Fontainebleau, du coste des Jardins Israel Siluestre f.'
[16] 'Veüe de l'Estang de Fontainbleau Israel Siluestre delineauit et sculpsit 1666'
[17] 'Veüe du Chasteau de Fontainebleau, du costé de l'Orangerie Isr. Syluestre del. et sculps. 1679.'
[18] 'Veüe du Chasteau de Fontainebleau, du costé du grand Canal Isr. Siluestre del. et sculps. 1678.'
[19] 'Plan releué du Chasteau, Jardin, et Parc de Monceaux Israel Siluestre sculp. 1673.'
[20] 'Veüe du Chasteau de Monceaux Isr. Sylvestre del. et sculps. 1679.'
[21] 'Veüe du Chasteau de Monceaux du coste du Parc Isr. Siluestre del. et sculps. 1680.'
[22] 'Veüe du Chasteau de Chambor, du costé de l'entrée Isr. Siluestre del. et sculps. 1678.'
[23] 'Veüe du Chasteau de Chambor du costé du parc Isr. Siluestre del. et sculps. 1676.' Two plates joined together.
[24] 'Plan du Chasteau de Blois. Dorbay del. et sculps. 1677.' Single page plate
[25] 'Veüe du Chasteau de Blois. Israel Siluestre sculpsit. 1672.' (left side of two plates intended to be joined together)
[25 bis] 'Conspectus Regiæ Blesensis.' (right side of two plates intended to be joined together)
[26] 'Plan du Chasteau de Compiegne Dorbay del. et sculp. 1677.' Single page plate.
[27] 'Veuë et perspectiue du Colege des 4 Nations Cum priulegio Regis. Israel Siluestre, delineauit et s. 1670.'
[28] 'De par le Roy …' [Plan of the re-siting of the church and convent of the Capuchins to make way for the future Place Vendôme proposed in a royal decree of 2 May 1686]. Unsigned and undated.
[29] 'Veue du Chateau de Jametz Israel Siluestre delin et sculpsit.' Undated.
[30] 'Profil de la Ville de Metz en Lorraine veue du coste de la porte Mazel Israel Siluestre delin. et sculp. 1670.' Two plates joined together.
[31] 'Veüe et perspectiue de la Ville et Citadelle de Verdun Dessiné et graué par I. Siluestre 1669.' Two plates joined together.
[32] 'Veuë de la Ville et Chasteau de Sedan dessigné et graué par Israel Siluestre.' Two plates joined together; undated.
[33] 'Veüe et perspectiue de Mommedy. Israel Siluestre delin et sculpsit 1669.' Two plates joined together.
[34] 'Profil de la Ville et Citadelle de Stenay. Israel Siluestre delin et sculpsit 1670.' Two plates joined together.
[35] 'Profil de la Ville et forteresse de Marsal. Israel Siluestre delin et sculpsit 1670.' Two plates joined together.



Binding C17th full red morocco, gilt triple-rule borders, upper and lower covers with gilt-stamped royal arms of France, gilt-tooled spine with cyphers of Louis XIV; gilt lettered 'Differ/entes/Maison/Roial'; gilt edges.

Reference Number 6517


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