839.

French songbook titled “Recueil des plus beaux airs de ce temps. 1620”, illuminated on vellum and silk.

[Hainaut (Mons ?)], 1620

Manuscript on paper, silk and vellum, 4to oblong, c. 17,5 x 21,5 cm, [274] ff. (incl. a number of blanks), written in expert calligraphy (1st marbl. protection leaf f. 7 wrinkled and strengthened with sellotape; tear in f. 15).

Cont. boards covered with pink silk, silk doublures, flat spine, gilt gauffered edges, covered with decorative mod. cloth, interleaved with marbl. paper protecting the illustrations on vellum. In good condition. View our video for the Songbook via this link: https://www.arenbergauctions.com/songbook

A rare and beautiful example of luxurious manuscript illustration in 17th-c. Hainaut, only available to a limited clientele of well-to-do and demanding book-lovers. The manuscript was ordered by “Melchior Dassonleville Montensis” (ownership entry dated 1620, written in “lettres cadelées” (calligraphic letters). The Dasson(le)ville family was well-known in Hainaut during the 17th c. According to E. Poncelet (in a letter accompanying the manuscript) Melchior is the son of Baudry Dassonleville, a Mons lawyer (d. 1619). In november 1628 Melchior married Marie Quintin. The Dassonleville arms occur in 3 of the manuscript’s miniatures, with the device "Tum demum satiabor". There are many similarities between this manuscript and Ms. III 858 of the Royal Library of Belgium, dating from the years 1619-1621, and at one time in the imperial library at Tsarskoye Selo (Russia). The Brussels ms. is in the same format, has 14 coloured illustrations and almost certainly comes from the same workshop. It contains 35 Dutch and 144 French songs - 26 of which also occur in the present ms. Their origin and originality are still to be researched in depth. Contents: 74 French songs, with an alphabetic index at the end, including 22 "airs nouveaux", 14 "chansons nouvelles", 8 "chansons amoureuses", 7 "airs de cours", 2 "ballets nouveaux’, 2 "chansons en gaillarde". Some have a specific title: La Dauphine, La Picarde, La Vallette, La Pavane espagnolle, or a more explicit title: Chanson des chastes amours de Birene et de sa dame, Les entrepos amoureux d’un gentilhomme et d’une bergère, Ballet à cheval sur le marriage du Roy. The final song Carillon joué aux funérailles de l’amour accompanies a funeral scene. 8 of the songs have an indication of the melody (“sur l’air de”). Illumination: 17 full-page miniature paintings on vellum, with mythological scenes, amourous and courtly themes (Pyramus and Thisbe, Venus and Mars, Diana and Actaeon, Perseus and Andromeda etc.) ending with a scene showing the funeral procession of Cupido. At the end of the manuscript are 16 large illustrations of animals, with special attention to horses (i.a. an equestrian portrait of a lady - the dedicatee?). Many pages contain border decorations with flowers, fruits, birds, or insects. One illustration is painted on a piece of silk. At the end of the volume a number of unfinished ff. with border decoration only. Ref. W. van Eeghem, "Le chansonnier de Nicolas Berblock" in Scriptorium (1969) 342-351. Prov. Dassonleville family. - On front flyleaf : "N. Le Cambier de Braels", a Nicolas le Cambier, Lord of Braque and La Haye, was a lawyer at the Hainaut High Court. - [Georges Petit]. Thanks to Gilbert Huybens (Louvain) for the analysis of the French songs and the comparison with the Brussels manuscript. Magnifique chansonnier manuscrit composé de 74 airs français sur le thème de l’amour, réalisé en 1620 à la demande de Melchior Dassonleville de Mons. Richement orné de 17 peintures (16 sur vélin, 1 sur soie) représentant des scènes courtoises empruntées à la mythologie et se terminant par les funérailles de Cupidon. Illustré en outre de 16 dessins à pleine page figurant des animaux (chevaux, léopard, singe, licorne…). Plusieurs pages de texte sont cernées d’encadrements décorés de fleurs, fruits, oiseaux ou insectes. Ce manuscrit présente plusieurs ressemblances avec le Ms. III 858 de la Bibliothèque Royale de Belgique datant des années 1619-1621 et provenant sans doute du même atelier (même format, i.e. in-4° oblong, et 26 chansons identiques. L’ex. de la Royale contient toutefois plus de chansons que le nôtre : 35 néerlandaises et 144 françaises). Dans une reliure en soie rose de l’époque.

€ 70.000 / 80.000

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