Monument du costume physique et moral, by RESTIF DE LA…

RESTIF DE LA BRETONNE, Nicolas-Edme. (1734-1866), attributed to.

Monument du costume physique et moral, de la fin du Dix-Huitième Siècle ou Tableaux de la Vie. Tome Premier [-Second]. Londres, 1793.

Second English (Pirated) Edition, without the plates. Two volumes, 8vo, pp. [ii], xii, 185; [ii], 162, bound without the plates, uncut, in contemporary paste-paper boards, rebacked and with new paper spines, with printed labels, with the contemporary heraldic bookplate of Jephson, Mallow, Ireland, and the ownership inscription of ‘Louisa Jephson’ on both titles, another ownership inscription ‘S. Ranizini’ (?) in the second volume only.

An unusual project in that the plates came first: starting in 1775 with a first set of a dozen engravings by Freudenberg published by Prault, which were followed by a second and third set of engravings by Moreau. Restif was then approached to provide a text to accompany Moreau’s plates. The full work was first published in Neuwied sur le Rhin, 1789 in a sumptuous folio edition with 36 pages of text and Moreau’s original 26 plates.
The first English piracy was published by Charles Dilly in 1790 and has the same collation as the present edition, but was published with only two engraved plates, providing frontispieces to each of the two volumes. The second English piracy noted by Rives Child (’Londres 1793’), was published with a new suite of 26 plates, one for each of the 26 chapters, newly interpreted after the English style, published by W. Hinton and with captions in English and French. However, internal evidence suggests that the present edition is a reissue of Rives Child XXXVI/2, the Charles Dilly edition with the frontispieces, as a footnote in the Avis des Editeurs states: ‘Dans l’Edition originaire de cet Ouvrage, on a embelli chaque histoire d’une estampe intéressante, dessinée & gravée par M. Moreau le jeune... Le Libraire qui présente au Public cette Edition, a choisi deux de ces Estampes, qu’il a fait graver par M. Heath; & il en a placé à la tête de chaque Volume’ (I, ii). This edition therefore appears to be an unrecorded piracy, being a reprint of the Dilly edition with two frontispieces rather than the full suite of anglicised Moreau plates. However, this copy unfortunately has no plates: although uncut and in contemporary boards, a reback and new spine make it hard to know whether they were ever present. Despite this, we offer this copy as an interesting Restif text which was not often reprinted and is scarce in any edition.

ESTC t124306 for the Londres, C. Dilly, 1790 edition with two plates, listing BL, Cambridge, NT and DLC; OCLC lists the Bodleian copy only of a Londres 1773 edition, with 26 plates; no copy found of this edition found with or without the two Heath frontispieces.

Rives Child XXXVI/3 (p. 311); see Cioranescu 52687/8; Gay III, 275 (1789 edition, ‘rarissime complet et avec le texte’); Cohen de Ricci pp. 881-882.

Keywords: Continental Books
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