Le Recu[e]il des secret pour graver à leau forte de…

Le Recu[e]il des secret pour graver à leau forte de brun... se fair le xx xbre mil six cent quatre vingt douze... by (ENGRAVING).
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~ Le Recu[e]il des secret pour graver à leau forte de brun... se fair le xx xbre mil six cent quatre vingt douze... [France, ?vicinity of Marseille, 1692-3].

Manuscript, oblong 4to (162 × 230 mm). 50 leaves, of which the first 9 (paginated ‘a’-’u’) and the last 2 bear text (mostly on both sides), the remainder blank save for original pagination. Text in French, usually legible. Original limp vellum over stiff paper reused from an earlier legal document, with title in manuscript to upper cover, arms to lower cover (plus several other markings and inscriptions, faint or deliberately obliterated). Soiled and cockled, old stitched repair to upper forecorner of upper cover.

Comprising excerpts (’secrets’) on the art of etching and engraving from Abraham Bosse’s Traité des manieres de graver en taille douce (first published in 1645), several other technical instructions, two medical recipes and a short account book of its owner, who evidently practised as an engraver, for the year 1693.

There are 9 selections from the opening of Bosse’s treatise, all concerning the preparation of the varnishes, acids and their application to the plate, plus the preparation of tools and points for etching, including an échoppe (or etching-needle) and techniques for controlling them on the plate:

La manière de faire le vernis dur pour graver a leau forte sur le Cuivre;... de faire la mistion du suif et huille pour couvrir les planches...;... pour faire la ditte eau forte;... dapliquer le vernis sur la planche;... de faire saicher le vernis sur la planche avec le feu;... de faire les pointe[s] et les eschopes pour graver au verny mol et deur;... de gouverner les pointes sur la planche; de faire le verny mol ensemble le moyen de sen servir et autre particularitez;... dapliquer le verny sur la planche;... de faire le vernix dur & mol seront blanc...

Added to this are recipes for two further varnishes, preparations of gold, silver and bronze (’larain albon’) and a method for transferring prints to glass. The medical recipes are for urine retention and inflamed eyes (’mal des hieux’).

The book has been used, briefly, as an account book, with c. 3 pages of interesting entries for 1693, noting several agreements made for engraving or other aritistic work, apparently in the vicinity of Marseilles. The writer paid 2 livres 2 sous to a Mademoiselle de Sieubert for four pictures (including one of children at play and a Saint Jerome); several figures are noted for plates either made or bought. In another entry over 200 livres are paid for a picture of Christ in the Garden by Bedeau (probably Pierre Bedeau, peintre ordinaire du roi, who died at Marseille in 1707).

The owner/maker’s name has been rubbed away from the cover, though the arms on the lower cover may be helpful in indentifying him. A note to the front pastedown, probably in a different hand gives the name of a Monsieur de Magny, rue de la Bucherie, Paris.

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