Medicea Hospes, sive descriptio publicæ gratulationis ...Van Baerle, Caspar. 1638

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Van Baerle, Caspar. Medicea Hospes, sive descriptio publicæ gratulationis qua Serenissimam, Augustissimamque Reginam, Mariam de Medicis, excepit Senatus Populusque Amstelodamensis. Auctore Caspare Barlæo.


Amsterdam: Johann & Cornelius Blaeu, 1638. First edition, with first-state plates.


Folio in 4s (15 11/16” x 10 ¾”, 398mm x 273mm): binder’s blank, A6 (A1 blank) B-H4 I4 (I4 blank), binder’s blank [$3; –A2, I3]. With an etched-engraved portrait frontispiece and 16 folding etched-engraved plates, and 2 additional folding etched-engraved plates: Effigies Mariæ de Medices Christianissimi Galliarum Henrici Magni coniugus, trium regum matris, Hetruriæ ducis filiæ drawn by G. Hondthorst and engraved by Pieter Holsteyn II and Pieter Nolpe (at B1); and Effigies nobilissimorum et amplissimorum Dd. consulum qui reip. Amstelodamensi præfuere tunc, cum eorum mandato advocatus Cornelius A Davelaer, D. in Petten, Equitatus Patritii Praefectus, christianissimam Reginam Mariam de Medicis, eandem urbem ingredientem, deduxit drawn by Thomas de Keijser and engraved by Jonas Suijderhoef (at B2).


Bound in (later?) laced vellum over pasteboard. Title and author ink manuscript to the spine.


All edges of the text-block speckled red.


Some soiling generally, with bumps to the fore-corners. Quire A with some repairs and reinsertions (title-page backed with tissue?). Otherwise a clean copy with old guards and strong impressions of the plates. Ink-stamp and bookplate of Edward Ipers on the front paste-down, as well as the bookplate of Paul and Marianne Gourary. On the verso of the Effigies Mariæ de Medices ink notations of date (“3 July 1642” and “A.o 1638”) and apartially-trimmed notation of location (“. . . binnen Amsteldam”).


$22,500.

Marie de’ Medici (1575–1642) was many things. Born the daughter of the Grand Duke of Tuscany, she married Henry IV of France, and when widowed by him served as Queen Regent for their son, Louis XIII. Her regency was controversial, and in 1617 Louis XIII banished her from court, placing her under house-arrest at Blois. Though she eventually returned to court, she would in 1631 leave France permanently, and made a tour of European countries where she had allies or other children.


The Queen Mother’s entry to Amsterdam on 1 September 1638 was an occasion of regal pomp and import — most unusual for the Republic. Caspar van Baerle’s account, published in Latin as well as in French and Dutch, details the magnificence and splendor of the celebrations: dramas and waterworks, triumphal arches and a vast parade (the title translates to “The Medicean Guest. . .”). The plates depict these preparations and spectacles in great detail (including several of an allegorical drama). Indeed, the two inserted plates give a sense of how the visit was commemorated, viz. with “posters” or “fliers” such as these. Likely published initially for the grandees involved in the reception of the Queen Mother, the first state of the plates is unnumbered. These copies were larger and printed more finely; later, numbers were added to assist in managing the greater number produced.


The book came into the collection of Edward Ipers (1843–1912) a Dutch paper-merchant and himself a writer, principally on Dutch history and language. Somewhat later, it joined the pre-eminent collection of “fête books,” as they are known (festival books, celebration books), amassed by Paul and Marianne Gourary. After Paul’s death in 2007, the collection — “Splendid Ceremonies” — was sold by Christie’s New York (12 June 2009), in which the present item was lot 4.


Berlin Ornamentstichsammlung 2949; Landwehr, Splendid Ceremonies 108; Muller 1793; Vinet 489.

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