BELLOY, Pierre-Laurent Buirette de. ~ Titus, tragédie en cinq actes. Avec des Observations sur la poësie dramatique adressées à M. de Voltaire. Paris: Ballard, 1760.
[bound with:] Zelmire, tragédie, en cinq actes; représentée pour la première fois, par les Comédiens français ordinaires du roi, le 6 mai 1762. Paris: Duchesne, 1762.
2 works bound together, 12mo (166 × 95 mm), pp. ix, , 105, ; xv, , 96, complete with half-titles. Fine engraved title ornament to ‘Titus’, woodcut ornaments to both works. Contemporary calf, gilt panelled spine, red morocco label. Slightly rubbed, bookplate removed from front pastedown. A very good copy.
First edition of the author’s first two plays. De Belloy began his career as an actor with a company of comédiens touring Northern Europe and found favour at the court of the Empress Elizabeth at St Petersburg. It was there in 1757 that he wrote his first play, then entitled Le Triomphe de l’amitié, which was performed in Paris as Titus on his return in 1761. It was not a success, but de Belloy followed it with Zelmire in 1762 to much greater acclaim. The tale of a princess of the Isle of Lesbos, it was drawn from Metastasio (as was Titus) and was later the source of Rossini’s Zelmira (1822). De Belloy’s major success, Le Siège de Calais followed in 1765.