An attractive 18th century French binding and beautiful illustrations grace this 1719 French language L'Imitation de Jesus-Christ, by Thomas a Kempis, and translated into French by Louis-Isaac Lemaistre de Sacy.
While the title page says the translation is by "De Beuil, Prieur de Saint Val.", Chalmers General Biographical Dictionary assures us that this "De Beuil" was indeed de Sacy, and this is his venerable translation of a Kempis work.
About the Work -
The Imitation of Christ, by Thomas à Kempis, is a Christian devotional book first composed in Medieval Latin as De Imitatione Christi (c. 1418–1427). The devotional text is divided into four books of detailed spiritual instructions: (i) "Helpful Counsels of the Spiritual Life", (ii) "Directives for the Interior Life", (iii) "On Interior Consolation", and (iv) "On the Blessed Sacrament". The devotional approach of The Imitation of Christ emphasizes the interior life and withdrawal from the mundanities of the world, as opposed to the active imitation of Christ practiced by other friars. The devotions of the books emphasize devotion to the Eucharist as the key element of spiritual life.
Ex libris plate of Ernest Schytte, who appears to be an author (Topographie et Iconographie), designed by the artist Pierre Ansart in 1898.
Physical Attributes -
Measures approx. 18 x 12 x 3.5 cm. Brown calf binding, richly tooled in gilt in the 18th century French style. Boards with outer gilt frame of double fillet and a roll, with an inner frame comprised of gilt handles, florets, stars and circles. Spine with five raised bands; five compartments with a central gilt floret surrounded by gilt decorations (starts, circles, fleur-de-lis, dentelle leaves) and one compartment with the title in gilt. All edges gilt, but faded. Silk ribbons. Marbled endpapers. Illustrated. 610 pages.
See pictures. Binding with wear, but nice. The corners are not worn through, or the edges, except the top edge of the rear board. There are a few darker spots on the front boards, and a little loss of gilt from wear. I see one worm hole on the spine, and a very small gouges on the rear board. Ex libris plate on pastedown. First five leaves with a little chipping along fore-edge. Some toning and foxing throughout. Pencil bookseller note on verso of flyleaf. Blank unpaginated front endpaper with a moisture mark at bottom edge. Some soiling to half title page. Small crack at bottom of title-page, does extend into text (2 cm crack). Occasional dog-eared page. Pages 17-30 light moisture mark at fore-edge margin. Occasional moisture mark at edges throughout, doesn't seem to intrude on text. Ghosting of illustrations to facing pages. There is some math on the rear blank endpaper (binder's costs?). Rear flyleaf chipped at fore-edge, 1 inch. Despite notes, an attractive book.
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