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South East Asian Art and Antiques, & Antiquarian, Rare and Collectable books
South East Asian Art and Antiques, & Antiquarian, Rare and Collectable books

Fables Choisies Mises en Vers Par Monsieur De La Fontaine, 1698; 2 Volume Set


Fables Choisies Mises en Vers Par Monsieur De La Fontaine. Bound in 2 Volumes; the second also containing Nouvelles Fables Choisies Mises en Vers, par de La Fontaine. Et autres plus celebres Auteurs Francois de ce temps; Cinquie'me Partie.

Published by Jean-Baptiste Girin, a Lion (Lyon). 1698. A scarce and early edition of this work, which was first published with illustrations in 1668, in Paris. Whilst 18th Century editions of this books are fairly common, 17th Century works are now thin on the ground.

This work is bound in two volumes. The first volume features portrait frontispiece, title, which is backed with owner's bookplate of Sir Alexander Macdonald, Baronet.

There is then an introduction, preface and biography of Aesop. This is then followed by the fables, grouped into Livre I-VI,  with lovely engravings throughout.

The second volume begins without title, then 2pp advertisement, 2pp on 'A Madame de Montespan', followed by the fables, grouped into Livre I-III. Followed by a 6pp Discours a madame de la Sabliere. Then more fables in Livre IV-V. Followed by 2pp Contents and 1pp Publisher's Permission information, dating the printing to 11 August, 1998.

This leads to the final section of the book - Nouvelles Fables Choisies, grouped as Livre I-II, and ending with a 2pp Table of Contents.

Text in French.

Vol I:

Frontispiece + Title for Premiere Partie + Bookplate Page + 32pp unnumbered + 123pp Fables + 4pp Tables des Fables. 

Title for Seconde Partie, followed by the Fables p141 -268pp + 2pp Contents. 

Fables Included:

Livre I: XXII;

Livre II: XX;


Livre IV: XXII;

Livre V: XXI;

Livre VI: XXI.

(124 Fables in total in Volume 1).

Vol II:

Advertissement, 3-4pp + A Madame de Montespan 5-6pp + 7-117pp Fables + 3pp Contents + Title of Quatrieme Partie + 119-161pp Fables + Discours a Madame de la Sabliere 162-167pp + 168-233pp Fables + 2pp Contents + 1pp Permission. 

Title Page for Cinquieme Partie + 3-126pp + 2pp Contents. 

Fables Included:

Livre I: XVII;

Livre II: XXVII;

Livre III: XX;

Livre IV: XV;

Livre V: IX;

(88 Fables in total, up until Cinquie'me Partie);

where Fables included are:

Livre I: XXIV;


(52 Fables in total in Cinquie'me Partie).

Providing a total number of Fables featured in both volumes combined of 264.

This is a good set bound in contemporary full calf leather with raise bands and gilt to spine, with matching morocco title labels. Covers are worn and bumped with various scuffs and marks, as expected from this period.

Binding is flimsy to Volume 1 - inner joint endpapers are split and binding is open at this front joint, with just the binding threads holding the cover in place. The back joint is still intact. Volume 2 is stronger with just partial cracking at front inner joint and intact at rear also.

First blank endpaper is almost detached. The text in both volumes is actually very good - still bright and clean, with beautiful engravings, with just the occasional crease or age spot. For a 17th Century copy, a nice addition to any library.

Weight approximately 532g (the set - unpacked).

Approx Dimensions: 

Each volume 159mm high x 109mm wide x 25mm deep.