1868 Imitation de la Sainte Vierge. Rich provenance. Fine binding.


A beautifully bound, petite edition, with rich provenance. The book practically glows with all the gilt applied. It was a wedding gift, to a French soldier (and later General) Louis Gaillard, at the time of his marriage to an American woman, Mary May Bradlee. She then gave it to the mother of Eugenia Brooks Lombard nee Frothingham; Eugenia wrote a lengthy description of the provenance, with a few errors.

In-Depth Provenance -

The book was published in Paris in 1868 (OCLC #458778401). The earliest gift inscription is for "Souvenir die 28 Mars 1868". A New England History biography of Gaillard says he was married on the 28th of May 1868; I believe someone read Mars as May, and this book is a gift for his wedding.

The second gift inscription is from Eugenia Brooks Frothingham in 1940, with her recollections of the importance of this work and Mr. Gaillard. Eugenia is known for the beauty of her writing (largely lettters), giving of books and art to institutions, and her marriage to the Plymouth Colony archaeologist Percival Hall Lombard.

About Louis Gaillard -

Louis Gaillard was born in 1824. He entered Saint Cyr in 1842, and after graduating rose through the ranks to become a captain in 1850 and a lieutenant colonel in 1870. Between 1852 and 1856, he served in Africa and Annam (Vietnam). He met Mary May Bradlee in 1867, and they were married in St. Clothilde's Church in Paris on 28 May 1868. When the Franco-Prussian War broke out in 1870, he joined the Army of the Rhine. He was severely wounded in the head by a Prussian saber at the Battle of Regonville on 16 August 1870, though his bravery saved his commanding officer's life. He became a prisoner of war and was held in Cologne during the winter of 1870-1871. In 1871, Louis was appointed to the tribunal at Versailles. He served on the Court of Military Justice, which tried the Communards who had seized Paris in the spring of that year. A few years later he was appointed military attaché to the French Embassy at the court of Alexander II. His military as well as his social savoir faire won him the sympathy of the czar as well as high Russian military and civilian officials. During the campaign against Turkey in 1878, he was attached to the high état\-major, and when called back to France the Czar awarded him, among other distinctions, the Grand Cordon de Saint Anne. Louis had won the respect of both Prussian and Romanian heads of state. His friendship with the Skobelev family contributed to the diplomatic understanding between France and Russia in the late nineteenth century. Louis was raised to the rank of general in April 1879. He became commander of the 72nd Brigade of Infantry at Pau. In November 1879, he retired from active service for health reasons, having amassed almost every decoration and honor in Europe, including the three highest French honors: the Chevalier, Officier, and Commandeur de la Legion d'Honneur, as well as numerous military decorations from major European countries.

Physical Attributes -

Measures approx. 10.5 x 7 x 1.5 cm; OCLC lists it as a 32mo. Leather binding with corner onlays of red Moroccan with flowers in gilt. Rich border of different fillet, and dentelle rolls as well as a dentelle frame. The spine has five raised cords with a fillet over each; the compartments have a central dentelle floret on top of an overlay of red Moroccan, surrounded by flourishes within a gilt fillet border. The title is in gilt in one spine compartment. Board edges are ruled in gilt. Intricate triple endbands of tiny thread alternating green and red. Rolled turn-ins, with rich gilt decoration, framing silk moire endleaves (hinges are leather). Initials of Louis Gaillard in gilt on the flyleaf.

Condition -

See pictures. Light rubbing at edges, on small rub mark on front board. One blank, unpaginated front endpaper is loose. Silk ribbon is frayed at top and bottom edge. Silk moire endpapers slightly faded. A little toning to title page, likely caused by the frontis piece of Mary facing it. A beautiful little book, as a whole, with much gilt tooling.

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