D'ALLEMAGNE, Henry-Réné (1863-1950)
Les Cartes a Jouer du XIVe au XXe siècle.
Paris: Librairie Hachette & Cie, 1906. 2 volumes, large quarto. (12 5/8 x 10 inches). Titles in red and black, half titles. 180 plates (122 coloured, five mounted), numerous uncoloured illustrations (many full-page).
Expertly bound to style in red half morocco over the original boards, titled in gilt on spine, original hand-coloured illustrated cream thick-paper wrappers folded and bound in at the front of each volume, top edge gilt (neat repair to foot of spine of vol. I)
Provenance: Monsieur Bois ("exemplaire imprimé pour Monsieur Bois" on verso of half title in vol.I).
A spectacular demonstration of the art of book production, and a valuable source of information on the history of the playing card.
This exhaustive treatise covers the origins and evolution of the playing card from the earliest known examples in the Middle Ages, describing their evolution and the changing techniques employed in their manufacture, and offering notes on those involved in their trade. Also covered are the social aspects which surrounded playing cards and games of chance and skill that developed, and towards the end of volume II is a valuable "Bibliographie des ouvrages sur les cartes à jouer". The period covered in this beautiful and erudite work is from the fourteenth to the beginning of the twentieth centuries. The title to the first volume notes that this work contains images of 3200 cards, with 956 in colour, and in addition there are hundreds of uncoloured illustrations, most reproducing earlier images. The printed note on the verso of the half-title of vol.I "exemplaire imprimé pour Monsieur Bois" indicates that this issue is from a limited edition of some description - unfortunately there is no other indication of how many copies were printed.