Paris: Jacob (Jacques) Bogard, 1549. 8vo (175 x 67 mm). , 112 ff., ruled in red. Collation: *8 A-O8, COMPLETE. Contemporary Paris binding by the Cupid's Bow Binder: smooth polished calf, gold-tooled (rebacked with new spine, corners and extremities refurbished, modern pastedowns and endpapers), a.e.g. Item #3622
Contemporary French Renaissance binding by the "Cupid's Bow Binder" who was active from 1545-1556 and was responsible for some of the finest bindings of that age. Among his great patrons were Jean Grolier, Catherine de' Medici, Anne de Montmorency (Constable of France), Louis de Sainte-Maure, Marc Lauryn, and the King of France.
It is curious that the name of the Cupid's Bow Binder has so far eluded researchers, especially considering that no less than 46 bindings by him for Jean Grolier survive according to Anthony Hobson. Following that of Gommar Estienne (reliure du roi) he was the most important binder to the King (see Lafitte and Le Bars).
Our binding, while comparatively modest, is nonetheless significant because the tool which appears at the four corners of both covers, and vaguely resembles a fleur-de-lys, is not published in the extensive literature about the Cupid's Bow Binder; with it we may be able to identify other bindings from this shop. The central ornament on our binding, ingeniously used twice in the centers, is reproduced by Nixon in his still-indispensible catalogue of "Book Bindings from the Library of Jean Grolier" (tool CB 26). This is one of the most distinctive tools from this bindery (the actual "cupid's bow" tool, after which this workshop was named, is in fact uncommon). Our tool appears prominently on vols. 2 and 3 of Marc Laurin's copy of Pontanus (Venice, 1518) for which see Foot, Henry Davis Gift III, no. 82, and elsewhere.
THE PRINTER was the esteemed humanist Jacques Bogard, a nephew of the great Parisian printer-publisher Charlotte Guillard (through her marriage to Claude Chevallion). Whereas biographical details about Bogard are meagre, we know that he was considered to be a brilliant scholar of Greek, and that he was the first editor of Guillard's press at the "Soleil d'Or." Bogard left Guillard's employ in 1541, succeeding his sister-in-law Emee Tousan (widow of Conrad Neobar) as libraire-imprimeur. However, his influence and association with her did not cease: instead, she frequently collaborated with her nephew, notably for the printing of Greek texts and medical treatises. Thus, as early as 1542, they both produced a bilingual (Greek-Latin) edition of Hippocrates; in 1543, Bogard printed three medical treatises (Fuchs, Galen and Hippocrates) on behalf of his aunt. In 1545 he reprinted for Guillard a Latin version of Hippocrates' Aphorisms, as well as an edition of the Iliad. In 1546-1548, he provided to his aunt half a dozen medical treatises by Fuchs. Bogard, his wife, and one of their children died of an epidemic in late 1548. (See Chapter 5 of Remi Jimenes's "Charlotte Guillard: Une femme imprimeur a la Renaissance," 2017, specifically the section on "Les reseaux de Jacques Bogard").
THE TEXT is the principal exegetical work of Theophylactus (1055-1107), archbishop of Achrida (Bulgaria) and a renowned theologian. The work is of further interest for the information it contains on the early Christian sects (Manichaeans, Arians, Nestorians, and others). The commentaries on the Prophets greatly influenced Erasmus and his contemporaries. Our Parisian edition was first published in 1542 and was reissued by Bogard's heirs with a new title-page; another title-page issue bears the imprint of Jean Mace.
PROVENANCE: Contemporary inscriptions on title-page: "Perrot" and "Langloir" (priority indeterminate) -- small 19th-century photographic portrait of a military officer pasted to verso of front free endpaper -- Christie's London 22 May 1998, lot 17 -- American collector Albert A. Howard, with his "AHA" book label inside lower.
LITERATURE on the Cupid's Bow Binder see Nixon, Grolier p. 58. Nixon, Morgan Library no. 34. Needham, Twelve Centuries nos. 66-67. Arnim, Schafer Einbandkunst no. 39 (featuring the "cupid's bow" tool and Nixon tool CB 26). Lafitte & Le Bars, Relieures royales de la Renaissance, no. 111 and pp. 150, 211, 214. Anthony Hobson, Renaissance Book Collecting, pp. 61, 65, 227-228.
REFERENCES: Renouard, Imprimeurs & libraires Parisiens du XVIe siecle, vol. V, no. 281. This edition is not in Pettegree & Walsby, French Books (but cf. 8834). Not in Adams. Neither the 1542 or 1549 issues are in the BnF according to CCFr.