1650 Le Capucin Escossois, Rinuccini. Illuminated and colored copy, ruled in red. Story of Catholic Scottish missionary George Leslie


1650 1st edition of Francois Barrault's translation to French of Rinuccini's Il Cappuccino Scozzese, the story of the Catholic convert and missionary to Scotland, George Leslie. This copy has been ruled in red, colored and some gold (illumination) applied, although the portrait of Leslie (and possibly one of the dedicatee) is missing.

This was Rinuccini's most popular, although (it seems) somewhat fictionalized. Rinuccini himself served as something of a diplomat to Ireland.

Thomas Graves Law writes that Rinuccini claimed he met Leslie in 1631 and heard the stories he later published firsthand.

After the reformation, for various reasons, many Catholic regions were looking for a hero and George Leslie, as Rinuccini, flew to immense popularity.

"Here was a typical Scottish convert, noble, chivalrous, accomplished, and a saint almost from his cradle. Here was a missionary whose romantic adventures put those of the English Jesuits, Campion or Gerard, in the shade ; and here was a picture — a unique picture of Scottish family life in the very heart of the persecution. The story came, too, with authority. The Archbishop of Fermo (Rinuccini) was a man of affairs, held in high esteem at the Court of Rome, and he wrote with an eloquence and enthusiasm befitting his subject." - Thomas Law

The problem, it seems, is in the details that Leslie gave. For example, Monymusk, headquarters of his mission (per Leslie) was owned by the Forbes family, and they testified they never allowed a Catholic to use it in such a way, since they were staunch protestants.

In later editions, through no fault of Rinuccini and Leslie (both deceased) the stories and legends continued to grow.

Provenance -

Ex-libris plates of Henri and Oswald Macqueron of Abbeville. Oswald was a notable artist.

Facing the title page is a partially erased inscription that seems to say, "Ce Livre (?) Theresse de (Laury?) cher Mademoiselle de Willeman a (Bethune?)"

On July 13th (and the following days), 1871 Sotheby sold a copy, catalogue entry #978, which might be this copy (colored, gold, ruled, red morocco), but the catalogue says only that the books were from Paris and offered anonymously. Perhaps they came from the Abbeville estate.

Bibliographic Details -

Universal Short Title Catalogue 6008661, five copies in Europe, none in the Americas.

Physical Attributes -

Measures approx. 15.5 x 9.5 x 2 cm (octavo size but signed in six). Red morocco binding in the rich style of the time. Boards with inner and outer frames of pointelle and fillet, with corner fleurons. Edges rolled with gilt tool. Spine with four raised bands. Compartments richly tooled in gilt, one compartment with the title in gilt. Marbled endpapers.

Book ruled throughout with a red frame. Some illuminating (gilt) and color application to title and chapter pages, decorative devices, etc. One larger inhabited initial at the dedication page. Four instances of a colored and gilt applied header showing Mary with angels. Four decorated initials, at each part; also gilt titles. Two tailpieces with gilt and color showing Truth, Grace and Love. Some other names, head and tailpieces, etc colored and gilt.

Pages - Missing frontis, which was signed a1. Some copies also seem to have a portrait of the dedicatee, but I'm unsure if this was an extra illustration because the signatures at the bottom of the page are complete save a1, in this copy.

Extant pages, x, 214, (2 - privilege)

Collation - a2-a6, A-S6

Condition -

See pictures. Missing the portraits of the Capuchin and the Duchess of Chatillon. Corners and edges of binding with wear. Small chip to top of spine. Edge gilt a little faded. Ex-libris plates on pastedown. Last page of binders blank pages has erased inscription facing title page. Title page with soiling and a stamp. Some toning and thumbing throughout. Occasional crease on leaf. Rear endpaper separating from its backing a little. Some bookseller notes at rear binder's paper.

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