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De Gheyn, Weapon Book, 1608.

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€19.500,00 EUR
Regular price
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€19.500,00 EUR

A masterpiece of Dutch Golden Age printmaking


Jacques de Gheyn II (1565-1629).

Maniement d’armes d’arqvebuses, movsquets, et piqves. […].

En conformité de l’ordre de Monseigneur le Prince Maurice, Prince d’Orange, Comte de Nassau etc. Gouverneur et Capitain General de Geldres, Hollande, Zeelande, Utrecht, Overijssel etc. Representé par figures, par Jaques de Gheijn. Ensemble les enseignemens par escrit, a l'utilite de tous amateurs des armes, et ausi pour tous capitaines & commandeurs, pour par cecy, pouvoir plus facillement enseigner a leurs soldatz inexperimentez, l'entier et parfait maniement dicelles armes […].

Amsterdam, Robert de Baudous, On les vend’ ausi a Amsterdam chez Henrij Laurens, 1608 [= imprint date changed in the plate from 1607 to 1608, but according to STCN, in fact not before 1610].

Folio. Three parts in one volume. [5], 42 pl.; [4], 43 pl.; [5], 32 pl.

Collates: π, X, A-B1, 42 ll; A-B1, 43 ll; a-b1, [c]1, 32 ll.

Compare Getty copy: [14] p., 32, 43, 42 leaves of plates.

Contemporary vellum with green ties, title shield, green painted edges. In a modern slipcase.

Complete copy of De Gheyn’s beautiful folio pictorial arms manual, with the 117 plates in remarkably good impressions with deep contrast and deliberate even plate tone, giving them a drawing-like appearance. This copy is the rare first issue of the first edition in French, which can be discerned by the name of the seller Henrij Laurens at the foot of the title and the signature of De Gheyn in the first plate of all three parts. This issue was to be sold in Amsterdam while two later issues were sold elsewhere and thus lack the seller’s name. The manual was first published in Dutch, with the same number of plates, as Wapenhandelinghe van roers, musqvetten ende spiessen (Amsterdam, 1607).
                De Gheyn’s three series of plates on the use of the blunderbuss (42), the musket (43) and the picket (32), is justly regarded as the greatest arms book of the 17th century and one of the masterpieces of Dutch Golden Age printmaking. A priceless resource for the organization and training of troops, De Gheyn's book created an overnight sensation throughout Europe and was quickly translated into several languages. An incredible number of imitations editions have since appeared.

Complete copies of this first edition are very scarce.

Condition: Label front pastedown, blind stamp on free endpaper. Paper in general slightly browned (more evident on some leaves). Multiple mainly marginal repairs throughout, mostly at the text leaves, rarely affecting the plates. Otherwise in good condition, the plates especially very good.

Reference: Hollstein Dutch and Flemish, Jacob de Gheyn II, 146-262; Lipperheide Qb19; Muller 1117c; Stolk, 1044.


Donald J. La Rocca How to Read European Armor. The Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York, 2017, p.23

Le héraut du dix-septième siècle: Dessins et gravures de Jacques de Gheyn II et III. Paris, Institut Néerlandais, 1985, no.37.

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