Œuvres du marquis de Villette

Author Charles-Michel Villette, marquis de Villette French
Papermaker Pierre Alexandre Léorier Delisle French

Not on view

"A beautiful copy of one of the earliest and most extensive European examples of printing on paper made entirely from vegetable fibers. There are a total of twenty vegetable paper samples at back (Schlosser states that the number can vary from 16 to 20). Schlosser also calls Villette's Oeuvres the "first book on paper containing no rag." Pierre-Alexandre Leorier de Lisle, director of the paper manufactory at Langles (near Montargis), one of the most determined and successful eighteenth-century experimenters in paper-making, scoured the plant world to find alternative substances for the fabrication of paper. In his dedicatory letter to the Marquis Ducrest (included here in the "linden-bark" issue of the text), De Lisle states that he tried to make paper from the fibers and barks of "all [kinds of] plants," and that the specimens included in this edition are merely extracts (presumably the most successful) from his experiments. While not commercially viable, De Lisle's botanical papers, among the earliest of the genre, are strong and pleasing both to the eye and to the touch. The twenty specimen leaves bound at the end of this edition, all with identifying captions printed on the rectos, include paper made from nettles, hops, moss, dandelion roots, marshmallow plants, reeds, hazelnut wood, spindle tree wood and bark, barks of oak, poplar, elm, willow and wicker, burdock and thistle leaves, and even three papers made from a filament-like freshwater alga known as conferva (sometimes called "bubbled cotton conferva" for its resemblance to cotton). This copy contains the 2 leaf dedication lacking in the Harvard copy. The Marquis de Villette (1736-1793) was a poet, wit, born showman, notorious homosexual and roué, and friend of Voltaire, displayed great courage during the Revolution in steadfastly rejecting the excesses of either side. Pages 114-153 contain selections from his correspondence with Voltaire.References: Dard Hunter, Papermaking, History and Technique, p. 327-8. Hunter, Literature of Papermaking, p. 41. L. Schlosser, An Exhibition of Books on Papermaking, pp. 9-10." -- description by vendor.

"Ce volume est imprimé sur le papier d'écorce de tilleul"--Page opp. t.p. Issued also on rose-colored paper and on paper made from marshmallow.

Published by P.A. Léorier Delisle, who made the paper at the mill at Langlée, near Montargis; printed by Couret de Villeneuve, Orléans. Cf. article by Hiver de Beauvoir in Archives du bibliophile, III (1860), p. 119-121.

The 20 leaves of plates are samples of Léorier Delisle's experimental paper made from various plant materials: marshmallow, nettles, hops, moss, reeds, conferva (3 kinds), burdock, burdock-colt's foot, and thistles; quack-grass root; hazel wood and spindle wood; and bark of willow, spindle tree, oak, poplar, osier and elm.

Contemporary French morocco, spine stamped in gold, all edges gilt, blue endpapers.

Œuvres du marquis de Villette, Charles-Michel Villette, marquis de Villette (French, 1736–1793)

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