Two rare and beautiful print-series of portraits of the counts of Flanders, Holland, Zeeland and Friesland

Martin, Cornelis; Pieter Bathasar (artist)

Les Genealogies et anciennes Descentes des Forestiers et Comtes de Flandre, avec brieves descriptions de leurs Vies et Gestes, le tout recueilly des plus veritables, approvees et anciennes Croniques et Annales qui se trouvent.

Antwerp, Andre Bax for Pieter Balthasar, 1580


Folio: (6), 118, (1) pp.

Folio. Contemporary vellum, spine ribbed, with gilt ornaments on sides accompanied by blindstamped filet borders, gilt filler inner panel with gilt ornaments at the four corners and large central gilt ornament, and with gilt stamped initials NVW and the date 1584 on front cover.

With red painted edges. With title within richly engraved allegorical borders, mounted; full page engraved armorial plate for the dedication to Matthias, Archduke of Austria; full page engraved plate with map of Flanders and large coat of arms; numerous woodcut coats of arms in text; 40 full page engraved full-length portraits of the Foresters and Counts of Flanders by Pieter Bathasar; and full-page engraved allegorical plate depicting death, with verse underneath, by Charles de Navieres.

Bound with:

Clement de Treles; Philippe Galle (artist)

Les Vies et Alliances des Comtes de Hollande et Zeelande, Seigneurs de Frise: Imitees & tirees du Latin.

Antwerp, Christofel Plantin for Philippe Galle, 1583.

Folio: II. 81, (1) pp.

With large engraving of the Dutch "virgin in enclosure" on the title page, and 37 full-page engraved full-length portraits of the Dutch counts by Philippe Galle.

Two rare and beautiful print-series of portraits of the counts of Flanders and of Holland, Zeeland and Friesland, bound together in a fine 16th century binding from the Southern Netherlands.

Ad 1. Rare first edition. On verso of last leaf, the printer's colophon is found. Andre Bax printed the book for the Antwerp painter Pieter Balthasar, who is believed to have provided the plates. The extensive and scholarly genealogical text is by Cornelis Martin, from Zeeland. The book is preceded with a laudatory verse by Jan van der Noot, the author of the Olympia epics and sonnets, who had returned from exile in England to his native Antwerp following the Pacification of Ghent in 1579. The book is dedicated by Pieter Balthasar to Matthias, Archduke of Austria, and dated at Antwerp, February 1580. The full-length portraits of the Foresters and Counts of Flanders begin with Liederic de Buc and continue through Phillip II, King of Spain. Each portrait includes coats of arms and other symbols of the ruler's reign; many include the ruler's wife; and all are beautifully set against the backdrop of a palace, city, landscape or battlefield. The name of the ruler is engraved underneath each plate, and a brief genealogical description is given on the opposite page (in fact, printed on the verso of the preceding plate. The beautiful allegorical plate of death and verse, by Charles de Navieres, is added at the end after the colophon.

Ad 2. Clement de Treles was the secretary to Francis, Duke of Anjou. His work is the first French adaptation of the Latin edition of 1578, also published by Plantin for Philippe Galle, with Latin verses by Michael Vosmeer, a humanist from Delft. De Treles very freely adapted Vosmeer's verses to French, and added to the Vosmeer edition a 37th Count and his own poem about him -- Francis, Duke of Anjou, who in 1582 replaced Phillip II as sovereign of the Netherlands, from the Hapsburg perspective.