Skip to product information
1 of 8

Chaumeau, Histoire de Berry, 1599.

Regular price
€2.500,00 EUR
Regular price
Sale price
€2.500,00 EUR


“Un tour de force de la gravure sur bois” (Brun)


Jean Chaumeau (ca. 1500-after 1566) [author]; Jean Arnoullet (?-?) [woodcuts].

Histoire de Berry, contenant l'origine, antiquités, gestes, prouesses, privilèges et libertés des Berruyers.

Lyon, Antoine Gryphius, 1599.


Small folio in 6s, [8], 365, [3 blank], 24 pp.


With an exquisite woodcut title and a superb double-folio folding woodcut bird's-eye panorama view in an oval frame of the city of Bourges, signed and dated Jean Arnoullet, 1566. Also with 79 woodcut coats of arms of the aldermen of Bourges, one page of woodcut coins, and numerous very fine woodcut initials. Lacks the map, instead the Latin edition of the same map from another work is loosely inserted, as well as the engraved Mercator map of Berry. 

18th-century lavishly gold-tooled calf. With the ex-libris of D.D. de Maufsabré on the front paste-down.


First edition of a richly illustrated and typographically very attractive early description of the province of Berry in France. This book is particularly esteemed for its large folding view of the capital, Bourges, crafted by woodcut artist Jean Arnoullet. Although little is known about Arnoullet, he was undoubtedly a highly skilled woodcut master of the French 16th century, likely the son of Lyon printer Balthazar Arnoullet (1517-1556). The woodcut frame for the title page, probably also by him, features the motto of printer Gryphius: "Virtute duce, comite fortuna." The frame is topped with a griffin with outspread wings and flanked by the allegories of Prudence and Time. Additionally, the work is embellished with numerous coats of arms of municipal officers, decorative headers, ornate letters, and coins of Bourges.
The author, Jean Chaumeau, was the son of a prosecutor of the city of Bourges, lord of Lassay, lawyer, and archaeologist. He was elected alderman of his city in 1540. This book is his only known written work and contains a legendary account of the origin, antiquity, splendor, and nobility of his province and the capital of Berry.


Condition: binding slightly rubbed. Lacks the map. some small marginal worming. Otherwise in very good condition.

Reference: Baudrier VIII:347; Brunet I:1826; Brun, livre illustré de la Renaissance 154; Pettegree (FB) 12936; STC French (BL) 106; Not in Adams.

Contact us to make reservation