New York: Charles Scribner's Sons, 1901. Item #02332
The Classic Courtesy Book
Bound By Gruel
[GRUEL, Léon, binder]. CASTIGLIONE, Count Baldesar. The Book of the Courtier (1528). Translated From the Italian and Annotated by Leonard Eckstein Opdycke. With Seventy-One Portraits and Fifteen Autographs Reproduced by Edward Bierstadt. New York: Charles Scribner's Sons, 1901.
First edition of the new English translation, limited to 500 copies, this being copy no. 199. Quarto (10 9/16 x 7 7/8 in; 274 x 200 mm). xii, , 439,  pp. Seventy-one portraits and fifteen autograph reproductions with captioned tissue guards.
Bound by Léon Gruel (stamp-signed) in full contemporary crushed antelope brown morocco with decoratively gilt borders, and a central panel enclosed by an elaborately blindstamped frame. Black crushed morocco doublures with wide dentelles and gilt cornerpieces. Navy blue ribbed linen endleaves. All edges gilt. Some very light rubbing to upper joint but still a superlative copy.
Baldassare Castiglione (1478 - 1529), count of Casatico, was an Italian courtier, diplomat, and soldier. Originally published by the Aldine Press of Venice in 1528, his The Book of the Courtier remains the definitive account of Renaissance court life and is considered to be one of the most important books to emerge from that period. Amongst the most widely distributed books of the 16th century, with editions printed in six languages and in twenty European centers, the 1561 English translation by Thomas Hoby had a great influence on the English upper class's conception of a proper English gentleman. The total number of editions to date now exceeds 140.
Binder and gilder Léon Gruel (1841 - 1923) began working in the family bindery, established in 1825 after his father assumed control of the Desforges binding workshop in Paris. In 1891 he became sole owner, employing a large number of artisans. In 1887, Gruel published Manuel historique et bibliographique de l'amateur de reliures in which he argued for a synthesis of styles, promoting the acceptance of non-traditional decoration for modern bindings. In practice, he matched this belief with a diverse range of emblematic and pictorial covers. The binding under notice eschews the pictorial for a more traditional approach heightened by his use of elaborate and progressive blindstamping influenced by the Arts & Crafts movement.