Catalogue de livres d’estampes et des figures en taille douce. Avec un dénombrement des pieces qui y sont contenuës.
Paris, Frederic Leonard, 1666.
In-8 (175 x 120 mm), soft vellum; copy formerly placed in this binding, pale small wetness on a few leaves, small tear in margin of first few leaves (Early binding).
First edition of the catalog of the first of the two print collections formed by Abbé Michel de Marolles (1600-1681).
Marolles began acquiring prints in 1626, and from 1644 his collecting activities ruled his life. He bought several important collections en bloc, including those of Delorme, Maugis, Kerver, Petau, La Reynie and others. His first collection comprised 123,400 separate prints by over 6,000 engravers, divided into 400 large volumes and 141 small volumes. It was acquired on behalf of the king by Colbert in 1667 for 28,000 livres. This collection, the largest and finest ever assembled, now forms the basis of the Bibliothèque nationale's print department.
Marolles assembled "the first print collection on the grand scale...[and]...was among the first of the private collectors in history to sacrifice his life and fortune to his passion. He may truly be called the 'Father of Print Collecting'...by the very scope of his activity, and his interest in separating his many thousands of pieces of paper into artist schools, Marolles lifted the printed picture from a by-path of typography to being one of the major prizes of the born collector."-Taylor, The Taste of Angels: A History of Art Collecting.