BOUND BY PADELOUP
LOUIS XV, King of France. Fêtes Publiques Donnees par la Ville de Paris, à l'occasion du Mariage de Monseigneur le Dauphin, les 23 et 26 Fevrier M.DCC.XLV. Engraved throughout. With title-page, allegorical frontispiece,  pp. of calligraphic text within ornamental borders, and 19 plates, of which 10 are double-page. Folio, 620 x 470 mm, bound by Padeloup (signed with his ticket at foot of title-page): in contemporary full red morocco, outer border of fleurs-de-lis, spine gilt with the royal monogram in spine compartments, marbled endpapers, a.e.g. [Paris], 1745.
First and Only Edition. "Très beau livre de fêtes" (Cohen-De Ricci), and a politically important Official French work of art issued during the reign of Louis XV, being the record of the royal wedding of Louis, Dauphin de France (aged 16) to Marie-Thérèse de Bourbon (of Spain, aged 19). The marriage took place on February 23, 1745, in Versailles with all the expected ostentation. There were major celebrations in Paris as well; and the present volume illustrates the problems - and ingenious solutions - in accomodating the greatest number of "celebrants."
Magnificent "Pleasure Halls" were erected throughout Paris wherein the French court and populace danced, dined and drank till the wee hours of the night on the royal wedding day. These Halls left the outer walls exposed, and thus the festivities literally spilled out into the streets, as shown by the scenes of revelry depicted herein. The monarchy held their private ceremonies at Versailles, which are also illustrated with great fidelity in the present volume. The plates offer a wealth of details of every aspect of the festivities, with cross sections, ground plans and elevations; two plates supply illustrations of the great banquet tables adorned with elaborate centerpieces, silverware and ornamental candlesticks.
Unfortunately, the marriage was short-lived, as the young bride, Marie-Thérèse, died shortly thereafter. To insure the succession of the throne, a second marriage was arranged; the Dauphin and Marie-Josephe of Saxony were married in 1747. To them were born eight children of which 3 ruled as Kings of France: the future Louis XVI, Louis XVIII, and Charles X. The Dauphin himself never ascended the throne, and died before his father (Louis XV) in 1765.
The identity of the artists of the unsigned plates has been the subject of some confusion: Cohen-De Ricci grant authorship of the large plates to C. N. Cochin the elder, engraved by Cochin and his son (although one plate was certainly engraved by Oubvrier, and was so signed). However, this copy offers an important piece of evidence as to source of the illustrations: at the foot of the title-page is a MS label inscribed: "Dessiné et gravé par les soins de François Blondel, Architect du Roy."
Two other copies (including the Furstenberg-Schäfer copy) bear a similar MS label, thus clearly assigning authorship to Blondel (or his workshop). Certainly the title-page was designed by Eisen (engraved by De Lafosse; the verso of title-page gives a rare instance of a woman's participation: "Marie F. Verard femme Lattré scrip."). The first plate, which includes a portrait of the Dauphin, is drawn by Charles Hutin and engraved by Le Bas. Hutin is recognized as one of the great master painters and decorators of the eighteenth century; and Portalis and Béraldi claim "ce n'est pas une exagération de dire que Le Bas est l'incarnation la plus complète de la gravure du XVIIIe siècle."
In this copy, the lettering of the plate "Vue perspective de la salle du bal ... de l'Hotel de ville" is within a frame of double rules & has a background of wavy vertical lines; other copies exist with the said lettering without a frame and the background is plain (priority indeterminate). A splendid copy in a deluxe binding by the royal binder, Padeloup (signed with his ticket).
Cohen-De Ricci, col. 392. Brunet II, col. 1239. Graesse, v. 2, p. 574. Vinet 522.
Item nr. 109750