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Alliances généalogiques des rois et princes de Gaule

Lyon, Jean de Tournes, 1561



FIRST EDITION dedicated to Catherine of Medici

Folio (331 x 208mm)
Large border on the title page with an architectural motif and a grotesque with the face of King Midas, typographical mark printed in the center of the title page, two wood engraved initials, one smaller, with the “Navarre” board at the foot of pages l2-m2 et m6, errata on the back of p. 1201
COLLATION : A4 a-z62a-z6 A-Z62A-P62Q8
ILLUSTRATION : 1068 wood engraved coat of arms, accompanied by a brief genealogical notice

CONTEMPORY BINDING. Brown morocco, gilt decor, lion cipher repeated on the sides flanking a central small tool diamond motif, border in gilt fillets or blind tooling with small tool motif at the corners, gilt dos à nerfs with the same diamond motif, speckled edges, traces of ties


Renewed endpapers

The Cenami, with arms of an open-mouthed lion in gold, came from an illustrious family from Lucca where one can still see their imposing palace. They make up one of the largest banking dynasties in France, from Henri III to the Fronde. Like other Italians who became French - Mazarin, Particelli d'Hemery, Sebastien Zamet -, they went to Lyon before investing in Parisian finance. Barthelemy Cenami was one of Henri III's major backers. This prominent person of opulent luxury lived in a hotel in Paris on rue du Grand Chantier and was identified as a "new" collector in an article in the Bulletin du Bibliophile of 1991 by Jean Balsamo who wrote :

"[Cenami] had a country mansion built, the current town hall of Charenton, where he received Gabrielle d’Estrées the Marquise de Verneuil and the Dauphin. A powerhouse financier also known as “Lord, Baron, Count, Marquis of a golden million”, Barthélemy Cenami was also associated with the writers of his time. His sons however, were less happy working in the same profession in the service of Mazarin. In the summer of 1609, Malherbe gave him letters by Peiresc and Montaigne that he had received as marks of friendship from his family” (cf. Montaigne, Journal de voyage, 1983, p. 366).

He received royal mistresses with ostentation and the Dauphin, the future Louis XIII, twice, because the Power intended to flatter one of his major creditors.

J. Balsamo cited five works having belonged to Barthelemy Cenami, but others have since appeared, like the Desportes from the sale of the Pierre Berès bookstore (2nd sale, n° 70), a Fauchet in our possession, or even the Republicas del mundo by Roman y Zamora published in Medina des Campo in 1575,which we sold to the John Carter Brown Library. Barthélemy Cenami was also friendly with the poets. We know that he owned a Du Bellay (Œuvres, 1597) and a Ronsard (Œuvres, 1597, 10 volumes in 5 volumes), both sold by Pierre Berès.

This copy was certainly bound for either Barthélemy Cenami (1556-1611) or for his father Genome. It bears their arms, the famous lion that faces left or right as here and on the Desportes of the Berès sale (II, n° 70). It is not inscribed like some of their identified books : Dello studio di Casa Cenami. The renewal of the endpaper undoubtedly removed the manuscript inscription found on many of these bindings (Dello studio di Casa Cenami). It was nevertheless absent from Roman y Zamora on which the original endpapers were preserved.

The execution of certain Cenami bindings could be attributed to the Parisian workshop of Clovis and Nicolas Eve. This one is more the Lyonnais style. Indeed, “it was in the early 16th century while they already had branches not only in Paris and Lucca, but in Venice and Bruges, that the Cenamis settled also in Lyon where they were qualified as merchant bankers” (Cl. Dulong, op. cit., p. 68). Hence it is not illogical for this powerful family of Lyonnais bankers to own a book by the famous Claude Paradin who was born in the Beaujolais region and is the author of Mémoires de l'Histoire de Lyon, especially if, like this one, it was printed in Lyon by Jean de Tournes.

The site of the Reliures de la Bibliothèque nationale de France (Bindings of the National Library of France) does not inventory any Cenami binding, like the Corsair base of the Pierpont Morgan Library.

REFERENCES : J.-C. Brunet, Manuel du libraire, IV, col. 358 -- Adams Catalogue of Books printed on the Continent of Europe (1501-1600) in Cambridge Libraries, P-290 -- R. Mortimer, French 16th Century Books II, n° 411 -- J. Balsamo, "Les reliures d'un Italien de la Cour de Henri IV", Bulletin du Bibliophile, 1991, n° 2, pp. 413-416 -- E. Picot, “Les Italiens en France”, Bulletin italien, II, 1902, pp. 136-137 -- L. Mirot, Études lucquoises, Paris, 1930, pp. 172-212 -- Cl. Dulong, Mazarin et l’argent : banquiers et prêtes-noms, Paris, École des Chartes, 2002, ch. “Mazarin et les Cenami”, pp. 65-98 -- A. Cartier, De Tournes, vol. 2, n° 482