VERSAILLES – FÉLIBIEN, André (1619-1695). Description de la Grotte de Versailles. Paris: L'Imprimerie Royale, 1679.

First edition of an important festival book, extra-illustrated with engravings by Le Pautre.The Grotte de Thétys, designed by Charles Perrault, formed an integral part of the iconography of the palace and gardens of Versailles. "It was designed to represent the climax of the astrological myth of the entire garden—the completion of Apollo's solar course and his return to rest in this underwater cave The grotto was a marvel of technical innovation. Félibien considered it to be a completely successful imitation of nature by art. The creation lasted only twenty years. It was destroyed in 1648 to be replaced by Mansart's north wing of the palace. However, its unique beauty is preserved with this recording by Félibien" (Millard). Berlin Kat. 3447; Millard French69.

Folio (492 x 328mm). Letterpress title with large engraved printer's device and royal coat-of-arms; 20 engraved plates, 3 of which double-page; 17 additional plates depicting vases, herms, and sphinxes by Le Potre (some dustsoiling and spotting). Contemporary French red morocco with elaborate gilt lozenge within gilt borders and crowned corners (light wear). Provenance: David Lionel Salomon (bookplate; his sale, Christie's London, 25 June 1986, lot 23).
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