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Jean Jacques Boissard's Emblematum liber
/ Emblemes latins [...] avec
l'interpretation Françoise
, Metz,
Jean Aubry and Abraham Faber, 1588

Read the introduction to this book

This description is based on Entry F.113 in Alison Adams, Stephen Rawles, Alison Saunders, A Bibliography of French Emblem Books (Geneva: Droz, 1999-2002).

Reproduced by kind permission of Librarie Droz.

GUL sm415_a1r. Actual page height: 191mm.
GUL sm415_a1r. Actual page height: 191mm.

4o: A-M4 [$3 (-A1, A3) signed] 48 leaves, pages numbered [1-2] 3-93 [3].

Fingerprint t.s. o.m; CeAf 3 1588.


A1ro: title; A1vo: blank; A2ro: ‘Ad lectorem’ by Boissard; A2vo: ‘Pauli Melissi Schedii ... in Emblemata Boissardi’; ‘Petri Lepidi Metensis in eadem emblemata’, ends A3ro; A3vo: ‘Du mesme Pierre Joly Messin’ (sonnet); ‘De luy encor’; A4ro: ‘P. Melissus Schedius ... ad Petrum Lepidum Metensem’; A4vo: ‘In Jani Jacobi Boissardi effigiem, Ioan. Saracenus Rupellanus’; ‘Eiusdem de eadem’; B1ro: engraved portrait of Boissard; ‘Petri Lepidi ... in eandem; B1vo: emblems begin, and end M3ro; M3vo: blank; M4ro: privilege, granted to Jean Aubry, dated 8 January 1584; M4vo: blank.


42 emblems, each dedicated to an individual. Each emblem occupies an opening: verso, French title and French sonnet; recto, dedication, engraving, and 4-line Latin verse below. French text in roman, Latin text in italic, 84mm for 20 lines. The engravings, by Theodor de Bry, and the Latin texts are those used in the undated all-engraved edition of ?1584 (F.111), with some emendation.

GUL SMADD415: B4vo-C1ro. Actual page height: 191mm.
GUL SMADD415: B4vo-C1ro. Actual page height: 191mm.


The Fra PBMa copy represents a separate state of this edition, possibly the earlier. The contents of its gathering A are the same as those of other copies, but in a different type-setting. The engravings are pasted in throughout the volume, with, in some cases, the verse in an engraved version, pasted over the letterpress verse, (e.g. B3ro). Its title consists of a variant state of the engraved title of the undated all-engraved edition of ?1584 (F.111) pasted over a variant letterpress title, which reads, insofar as it can be made out:

IANI | IACOBI BOISSARD- | di Vesuntini Emblematum liber. | EMBLEMES LA- | TINS DE I.I. BOIS- | sard, auec l’interpreta- | tion françoise du I. Pier- | re Ioly Messin. | Iani Aubrij Typis. | [rule: 37mm] | Metis, | EXCVDEBAT ABRA- | hamus Faber.

This edition was subject to considerable change during its production, to some extent because of errors in the placement of engravings. In several copies such errors are dealt with by the pasting in of the correct engraving.

The Bel BBRKB copy has Greek verses added to every recto, below the Latin text, and other manuscript additions, believed to be in Boissard’s hand.

The order of the emblems is slightly different from 1584 (F.111). All the Latin verses in this edition are also found in the unillustrated Tetrasticha of 1587 (F.112).


Praz, p. 278; Landwehr, 165.

Copies located

A List of Library symbols can be found here.

Fra *BeBM
Fra NBM (2 copies)
Fra *BN
Fra *PBArs (2 copies)
Fra *PBMa
Fra TrBM
UKi *OB (gathering A only)
USA *CSmH (3 copies)
USA *DFo (2 copies)


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