• Paris: Imprimerie de Michel de Vascosan et Federic Morel, 1572
  • Paris, second half of the 16th century (binding)
  • Paper; binding in morocco
  • Inv. LA252

‘Les Oeuvres Morales & Meslées de Plutarque’

Les Oeuvres Morales et Meslées is a copy of the first edition of Plutarch’s work (1st–2nd centuries), published in Paris in 1572 and translated from the original Greek by the French writer and humanist Jacques Amyot.

This collection of texts by Plutarch appeared in two volumes whose bindings, attributed to Nicolas Ève, are decorated in à la fanfare style (the 19th-century name given to this kind of decoration). The entire surface of the two boards and the spine is in brown morocco covered with compartments bordered by three parallel gold fillets, and decorated with small gilded tools showing scrolls, branches and leaves, some of which are heightened with colour. Although the bindings of the two volumes seem identical, there are clear differences in the decoration between the compartments. The characteristically Renaissance central cartouche bears the arms of the book’s owner, Nicolas Moreau, Lord of Auteuil, Treasurer of France and a great bibliophile.

The anagram of his name, 'À l’ ami, son Coeur', and his signature appear several times in both volumes, on the fly-leaves, the frontispieces and in the text.

Nicolas Moreau; E. Ediot; Henry Yates Thompson; Lucius Wilmerding. Acquired by Calouste Gulbenkian through Hans Stiebel, at the sale of the Lucius Wilmerding’s Collection, New York, 5–6 March 1951 (lot 471).

H. 40 cm; W. 26.5 cm 

Brun 1969

Robert Brun, Le Livre Français illustré de la Renaissance. Paris: A. and J. Picard, 1969.

Hobson 1970

Geoffrey D. Hobson, Les Reliures à La Fanfarre. Amsterdam: Gérard Rh. Van Heusden, 1970