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AN ATTRACTIVE COPY OF AN IMPORTANT ENCYCLOPEDIA OF ARTS AND TRADES.

MACQUER, Philippe (1720–1770)

Dictionnaire portatif des arts et métiers , contentant en abrégé l'histoire, la description, et la police des arts et métiers, des fabriques et manufactures de France et des pays étrangers

Yvredon: [no bookseller or printer's name], 1766--1767
3 volumes 8vo: I: a8 b4 c2 A–2O8 2P6 (blank c2), 316 leaves, pp. xxvi [2] 605 (i.e. 603, pp. 449–50 omitted) [1] (c2 and last page blank); II: A–2R8 2S4, 324 leaves, pp. 647 [1] (last page blank); III: A–2R8 2S4, 324 leaves, pp. 650 (i.e. 648, pp. 273–4 omitted).
Condition: 194 x 118mm.
Binding: Contemporary marbled sheep, richly gilt spines, red edges, block printed pastedowns. Minor rubbing.
A reprint of the two volume Paris edition of 1766, omitting the approbation and privilège; there was also an Amsterdam reprint in 1767 and a second Paris edition in that year.
Bibliography: OCLC 3229662.
£800

An important dictionary of arts and trades intended to complement Valmont de Bomare’s dictionary of natural history and the chemical dictionary of the compiler's elder brother, Pierre-Joseph Macquer. Philippe Macquer, ‘érudit modeste et scrupuleux’, whose name does not appear in any of the editions, gives the names of a number of savants who contributed articles, including Varenne de Beost, Rigaud, and Baumé, the last of whom seems to have taken a large share, and the sources of articles culled from published works. There are good articles on book and paper production, engraving and bookbinding. Barber, French Letterpress printing, draws attention to the long articles on printing and bookselling (’Imprimeur’, ‘Libraire’).
Although accused of plagiarism of the Académie Royal's series of monographs, Déscription des Arts et Métiers, the first of which was published in 1762, and Diderot's Encyclopédie, begun in 1751, Macquer only had access to the initial volumes of each. In fact he was a more scrupulous editor than Diderot in citing printed sources. He states in his preface that his ‘portable’ dictionary will serve as an introduction to these massive undertakings, only completed in 1789 and 1780 respectively.
This is an attractive and fresh copy of the Yvredon reprint, in larger format than the original Paris edition. The binding may be Swiss or Austrian.
Literature: J. Proust, ‘Deux encyclopédistes hors de l'Encyclopédie Philippe Macquer et l'abbé Jaubert’, Revue d’histoire des sciences et de leurs applications 11 (1958) 330–336.
Keywords:     engraving    book history    binding    printing    dictionary