The first collective edition of Molière’s Œuvres,
printed in Paris in 1682.
One of the rarest copies preserved in its contemporary binding
and possessing a contemporary armorial provenance:
Nicolas Bertin, advisor to king Louis XIV.
Molière. Les Œuvres de Monsieur de Molière. Revues, corrigées et augmentées, enrichies de figures en taille-douce.
Paris, Denis Thierry, 1682.
8 volumes 12mo [162 x 97 mm], brown granite-patterned calf, ribbed spine with gilt fleurons, decorated leading edges, sprinkled edges, some minor restorations. Strict contemporary binding.
First collective edition of Molière’s Œuvres.
Printed in 1682, it is the first complete edition and the first illustrated one.
Tchemerzine, V, 287 ; Guibert, 609-650.
It is here preserved in its authentic and attractive contemporary binding.
A few years after Molière’s death (1673), his widow Armande Béjart asked La Grange, a friend of Molière, himself a comedian and faithful to his memory, to publish his complete works.
La Grange received, from the hands of Armande Béjart Molière’s manuscripts and prepared the renowned 1682 edition, in collaboration with Vivot and maybe also Marcel, another comedian.
The 1682 edition is made up of two distinct parts.
The first six volumes contain the plays by Molière which had already been printed in his lifetime.
Volumes VII and VIII present six plays in first edition that had been performed but never printed at the time of Molière’s death: “Don Garcie de Navarre”, “L’impromptu de Versailles”, “Don Juan”, “Melicerte”, “Les Amants magnifiques” and “La comtesse d’Escarbagnas”.
Then follows “L’ombre de Molière de Brécourt”.
It is the first illustrated edition of Molière’s Œuvres. It is decorated with 30 figures engraved by J. Sauvé, after Brissart.
Vivot assisted La Grange. A great amateur of paintings, he had an artistic eye and knowledge that helped when choosing the illustrator and the figures themselves.
“This edition must be considered, and rightly so, the most complete of the 17th century editions. The stage directions are introduced and, for the first time, each comedy is preceded by a particularly precious engraving showing the attitudes and costumes of the characters.” (Guibert, II, 612)
A precious copy, with wide margins (height 164 mm), preserved in its contemporary brown calf binding, one of the rare copies to have an armorial 17th century provenance: Nicolas Bertin, advisor to king Louis XIV, maître des requêtes honoraires de son autel, with armorial ex-libris.
In 2001, the Librairie Sourget catalogued and sold another contemporary brown calf copy, but with lesser margins (160 mm) and without a known provenance, for 30 000 €.