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THE DANCE OF DEATH by  HANS (COLOR PLATE BOOKS). HOLBEIN - 1804 - from Phillip J. Pirages Fine Books and Medieval Manuscripts (SKU: ST16372a)


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About This Item

London: Printed by C. Whittingham, for John Harding, 1804. 175 x 105 mm. (6 7/8 x 4 1/8"). 70 pp., [1] leaf (ads).Preface and description of plates by Francis Douce.
EXCELLENT CONTEMPORARY CRIMSON STRAIGHT-GRAIN MOROCCO, GILT, BY R. WALLIS for C. E. Lauriat (stamp-signed on verso of front free endpaper), covers with French fillet borders, circles at corners, raised bands, spine compartments with central floral sprig within a lozenge of small tools, acanthus leaves at corners, turn-ins with intricate floral roll, marbled endpapers, top edge gilt, other edges untrimmed. Engraved frontispiece portrait of Holbein, 30 PLATES AFTER WENCESLAUS HOLLAR'S ENGRAVINGS OF HANS HOLBEIN'S PAINTINGS, and a folding plate based on a woodcut from Lydgate's 1554 "Dance of Macabre," ALL HAND-COLORED. Neat older repair to fore edge of one leaf, other trivial imperfections, but AN ESPECIALLY FINE COPY, clean and fresh internally with attractive hand coloring, in a gleaming, unworn binding.

This is very appealing version, with an especially pretty binding and fine hand-colored images, of Holbein's haunting, darkly amusing depictions of Death and its victims. First appearing in book form in 1538, the Holbein images represent an important contribution to the traditional "Danse Macabre" genre by sharpening the humor and satire and heightening the drama, so that the engraved figures become part of a fully realized scene, not just members of the well-established processional dance. The final folding plate here shows that full parade as it appeared in a 16th century woodcut, allowing the viewer to contrast the styles. The 30 plates seen here are among the major engraved works of Hollar (1607-77); they were produced after the original Holbeins in Antwerp in 1651. This edition, nicely printed by Charles Whittingham (the uncle), first appeared in an undated version about 1794. Though his name is not mentioned in the book, the text here is written by the learned antiquary Francis Douce (1757-1834), Keeper of Manuscripts in the British Museum, and member of the Roxburghe Club. Copies of this title do appear from time to time in the marketplace, but we have only been able to trace two other hand-colored copies sold at auction..


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Phillip J. Pirages Fine Books and Medieval Manuscripts US (US)
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Printed by C. Whittingham, for John Harding
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Phillip J. Pirages Fine Books and Medieval Manuscripts

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About the Seller

Phillip J. Pirages Fine Books and Medieval Manuscripts

Seller rating:
This seller has earned a 5 of 5 Stars rating from Biblio customers. member since 2006
McMinnville, Oregon
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About Phillip J. Pirages Fine Books and Medieval Manuscripts

Phillip J. Pirages Fine Books an Manuscripts was established in 1978 on a ping pong table in a basement in Kalamazoo, Michigan. From the beginning, its founder was willing to sell a range of material, but over the years, the business has gravitated toward historical artifacts that are physically attractive in some way--illuminated material, fine bindings, books printed on vellum, fore-edge paintings, beautiful typography and paper, impressive illustration. Today, the company still sells a wide range of things, from (scruffy) ninth century leaves to biblical material from all periods to Wing and STC imprints to modern private press books to artists' bindings. While we are forgiving about condition when something is of considerable rarity, we always try to obtain the most attractive copies possible of whatever we offer for sale.


Some terminology that may be used in this description includes:

Very generally, "leaves" refers to the pages of a book, as in the common phrase, "loose-leaf pages." A leaf is a single sheet... [More]
A book in fine condition exhibits no flaws. A fine condition book closely approaches As New condition, but may lack the... [More]
The decorative application of gold or gold coloring to a portion of a book on the spine, edges of the text block, or an inlay in... [More]
raised band(s)
Raised bands refer to the ridges that protrude slightly from the spine on leather bound books. The bands are created in the... [More]
top edge gilt
Top edge gilt refers to the practice of applying gold or a gold-like finish to the top of the text block (the edges the pages... [More]
fore edge
The portion of a book that is opposite the spine. That part of a book which faces the wall when shelved in a traditional... [More]
Morocco is a style of leather book binding that is usually made with goatskin, as it is durable and easy to dye. (see also... [More]
The collective of the top, fore and bottom edges of the text block of the book, being that part of the edges of the pages of a... [More]
The page bound on the left side of a book, opposite to the recto page.
Full page illustration or photograph. Plates are printed separately from the text of the book, and bound in at production. I.e.,... [More]