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AN ATTRACTIVE FOLIO WRITING BOOK WITH WOODCUT AND ENGRAVED EXAMPLES. FIRST EDITION.

ROYLLET, Sébastien (1700–1767)

Les nouveaux principes de l’art d’écrire , ou la vraye methode d’y exceller. Divisée en deux parties. La premiere par demandes & par réponses. Et la seconde en six tables

Paris: chez Alexis Mesnier, Libraire-Imprimeur, rue Saint Severin, au Soleil d’or, ou en sa Boutique au Palais, Grand Salle, même ensienge, 1731
Folio, *2 A–I2; a2 2A–E2, 34 text leaves, and 17 bifolia printed from 23 engraved plates, the first 15 printed from single plates, the last two printed from 4 plates each, pp. [4] 36 p and 14 plates; iv 18 [2] and 3 double-page engraved plates. Woodcut examples of letterforms printed in the first section of text and 2 engravings printed in the second. The first plate has an imprint ‘A Paris Chez l’auteur rue de la Verrerie proche l’hôtel de Pompone’ and all but the last two are signed ‘Royllet Scr. Bailliau Sculpsit’, or with their initials.
Condition: 329 x 250mm. Pencil inscriptions erased from titlepage and some occasional pencil marking on the plates. Light browning and foxing to text, heavier in the last 2 leaves. Ink stains on the second plate, spotting and marginal waterstains to a few plates.
Binding: Contemporary green stained vellum boards, red page edges. Joints split and corners worn. The plates are mounted on guards, which are partly torn.
First edition. Another edition, with 29 plates but only pp. [2] 28 of text was published in 1772.
Bibliography: Becker 149; Berlin 5123; Bonacini 1578.
£4,500

An unusual writing book with extensive text including woodcut letterforms in the first part. The use of intaglio and woodcut is reversed in the second part, where the double-page engravings include extensive text.
Royllet, a pupil of the writing master Louis Rossignol, was the son of a carpenter in Châlons-en-Champagne. He worked at the Trésor royal (the finance ministry in the anciene regime) and was admited to the Communauté des maîtres écrivains in 1729.
Collations of copies vary. I have compared this copy with the Columbia copy, which has some of the same plates and some different. The Harvard copy is made up with plates from a later issue.
OCLC locates copies at Amsterdam University, BNF, BL, Newberry Library (probably in error as only the 1772 is in their online catalogue) and Columbia.
Keywords:     writing book