CLAESEN, Charles. Recueil d'ornements et de sujets pour être appliqués á l'ornementation des Armes. Illustrated with a lithographic title and 40 lithographic plates, 6 being chromolithographs, including one double-page plate ("34 & 35") in full colour, and 5 plates folding. Large 4to., 352 x 268 mm, bound in recent three-quarter maroon morocco over contemporary Belgian pebble-grained cloth boards, later leather lettering piece on upper cover. Liège: chez Charles Claesen, [ca. 1856-58].
First printing of one of the most splendid illustrated books on gun decoration, illustrated throughout with gold-printed chromolithographs, copperplates and black and white lithographs, all documenting elaborately ornamented guns from the Renaissance through the Victorian era. The highly detailed ornament incorporates images of hunting dogs worked into the designs, as well as fowl, foliage, stags, scroll vines, etc. The delicately-detailed lithographs and copperplates reproduce gun-ornament on metal for the cock and side plaques, and on wood for the stocks and barrel fore-ends. The work was issued by the Belgian lithographer and later illustrated book publisher, Charles Claesen, who was active as a lithographer at Liège beginning in the early 1850s. He later founded his own publishing firm in 1893, the Societé C. Claesen & Co., which closed in 1898.
"Dominating the production of Belgian architectural books in the late nineteenth century were the titles issued by Charles Claesen of Liège, successor to D. Avanzo et Compagnie. The latter firm had by the 1840s garnered a large market for such large-format issues as the Grands prix d'architecture: Projets couronnés par l'Académie Royale des Beaux-Arts de France of 1842, a market that Claesen was further to exploit. Claesen personally kept up with and soon implemented the various improvements in the means of book (re)production as they were developed. Thus, if his typical issues of the 1860s were volumes of engraved plates (like his Spécimens de la décoration by Michel Liénard of 1866), those of the 1870s were collections of lithographs (like his Motifs de décoration extérieure et intérieure of the 1870s" (Alfred Willis, Belgian Architectural Book Publishing from the Nineteenth Century towards the Twenty-First).
In Muquardt's Bibliographié de la Belgique 1857 it is recorded that already by 1857 the first two series of this publication were complete and available for purchase as single plates. He then states that an "ouvrage complet sera composé de 50 pl., et formera 4 séries annuelles qui se réunissent en 1 vol. ou se vendent séparément." Claesen never realized his plan of publishing the complete series of 50 plates; this volume containing 40 plates represents the full and final number of plates that he published on the subject. Volume rebacked, overall, a beautiful copy.
PROVENANCE: M.A. Crowther with his ex-libris (possibly the early twentieth-century English author of books on English religion and social sciences); Edmond L. Lincoln with ex-libris.
Thiébaud 205-206 ("Ouvrage couronné à l'Exposition des arts industriels de Bruxelles, 1856, et admis dans l'enseignement de l'Académie des beaux-arts de Liège"). Muquardt, Bibliographié de la Belgique ou catalogue général et l'imprimerie et de la librarie belges.... Livres Belges publiée in 1857, # 398.
Item nr. 166937