LESAGE (Alain-René), Jacques-Philippe d'ORNEVAL, Louis FUZELIER et Denis CAROLET.

Lot 17
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4000 - 6000 EUR
LESAGE (Alain-René), Jacques-Philippe d'ORNEVAL, Louis FUZELIER et Denis CAROLET.
Le Théâtre de la Foire, ou l'Opéra-comique. Contenant les meilleures Pièces qui ont été représentées aux Foires de S. Germain & de S. Laurent. Paris, 1724-1737. 10 volumes in-12, lemon morocco, triple gilt fillet, coat of arms in the centre, smooth spine decorated with grotesque style, brown title and tomaison pieces, gilt border inside, gilt edges (Binding of the period).
Very rare and important work, illustrated with a frontispiece and 84 intaglio figures, most of them engraved after Bonnart fils, and embellished with 637 pages of engraved music.
First edition for volumes IV to X, and reissue for volumes I to III (addressed to Pierre Gandouin, 1737)
The collection contains a selection of plays performed on the trestles of the Saint-Germain and Saint-Laurent fairs, the two most important ones in Paris before the Revolution. It was in these places of entertainment, where rope dancers, puppet and animal showmen, acrobatic rats, gargoytiers, cabaretiers, travelling charlatans and tricksters rubbed shoulders, that the real fairground theatre was born in 1678, a new dramatic genre which, under the impetus of Lesage, in particular, was to become the Opéra-Comique in the 18th century (see the Memoirs of Jean Monnet, director of the Théâtre de la Foire, 1884, pp. 14-35).
An exceptional copy in lemon morocco with the arms of Béatrix de Choiseul-Stainville, duchess of Gramont (1729-1794). It is complete with all its engravings and pages of engraved music, and was enriched at the time with 8 figures by Marillier.
Quentin-Bauchart does not mention this copy in his list (t. II, pp. 105-122), but the other volumes he cites indicate that the duchess of Gramont was a distinguished bibliophile and had built up an interesting literary library in which the theatre occupied an important place. This provenance is all the more attractive when one knows that the duke of Choiseul, her brother, then minister of Louis XVI, had offered a plot of land on which was built in 1783 the theatre of the Opéra-Comique - the first Salle Favart - in exchange for a perpetual box which undoubtedly benefited the duchess and which her descendants still occupy since more than two centuries.
Some browning, small wormholes (notably in volume I with deletion of pagination on folio D4), tear without missing on the edge of folio X6 in volume IX, a few pages of music cut a little short at the head in volume VI. Some chips and rubbing to the binding, small scratch on the second cover of volume X.
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