Cornelius, artist]. Renversement
de la morale chretienne par les desordres du monachisme. Enrichi de figures....
Omstootinge der christelyke zeden.... Hollande [Amsterdam?]: Chez les marchands
libraires et imagers, [1740–60?]. 4to (22.2 cm, 8.75"). Fold-out frontis.,
 ff., 20, 111, [1 (blank)] pp.; 50 plts.
Beginning with a double-page engraved frontispiece entitled “L’abregé
du faux clergé romain” (“the epitome of the false Roman clergy”)—which
shows monks milling coins out of the very figure of Jesus—these striking
caricatures with their accompanying verses in French and Dutch cast aspersions
fairly broadly, impugning Catholic male religious and a few female religious
of all kinds—Austin friars, Benedictines, Cistercians, Franciscans, and
Jesuits. Each is shown in a highly unflattering pose, each exemplifying a specific
vice or abuse, from the gluttonous or libidinous monk to a fearsome Dominican
of the Holy Office who holds the severed head of an heretic. These 50 plates
are expertly drawn satires, humourous though often nasty.
add to the book’s interest, it is something of a bibliographical conundrum:
The exact number of editions and their dating is difficult to determine, as
is the date of the first edition (some cataloguers speculate that it was about
1676), for none of them are dated, no doubt to avoid the censor. Apparently
the work first appeared in the late 17th century, and was printed into the 18th
and perhaps the 19th. The short title catalogue for the Netherlands lists only
two editions: The signature composition and plate count of one match this copy,
and the cataloguer of the Royal Library speculates that this edition may have
been printed in Switzerland.
This work was first published with 25 plates, preceded by full descriptions
of each in French and Dutch. An additional 25 plates (present, with their
descriptions, in this copy) were later added, with short verse descriptions
given in French only. None of the plates are signed, though some cataloguers
speculate they are by Corneille Dusart and the frontispiece by Romeyn de Hooghe.
20th-century green marbled paper over boards; spine with brown
paper label, gilt-lettered. Moderately rubbed, corners bumped, spine label
chipped yet a volume with good antiquarian presence. All edges speckled
red. Generally clean with but a few spots of light foxing.
here . . .
BOOKS” . . .
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