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Georgette de Montenay's
Emblemes ou devises chrestiennes,
Jean Marcorelle, 1567/1571

Read the introduction to this book

This description is based on Entry F.437 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: sm771_indxf. Actual page height: 169mm.
GUL: sm771_indxf. Actual page height: 169mm.


4o: a-z4 A-F4 [$1 (-a1, +a2-4, b2-3, E1-3, F1-3) signed] 116 leaves, leaves numbered [8] 1-100 [8]. [Variant: missigning c3 as c2.]

Gatherings c-D were printed on one side of the sheet only, on $1ro, 2vo, 3ro and 4vo. In most copies, these gatherings are bound in 8s, with 2 signatures per gathering, such that the emblems appear on the recto of each leaf: the leaves have been cut singly, and pasted at the gutter to the corresponding leaf of the next signature (thus, for example, c1 and d4 are joined, and likewise c2 and d3, c3 and d2, c4 and d1); gathering D is bound in 4, but also with the leaves cut singly. This procedure is clearly observable in the Fra BeBM and UKi GU copies. See also Remarks below.

Gathering b presents problems: in all the copies examined where it has been possible to investigate the sewing, it appears that here too the leaves are bound singly. Further, 2 distinct settings of the texts on b3ro and b3vo have been noted, with no correlation between either setting and any particular issue of the work. Moreover, leaf b4 is frequently missing, or blank. A possible explanation is that it was realised that the preliminary matter would leave a blank b4, and that labour could therefore be saved by printing gathering b on 2 half-sheets, the first with b1-2 and the second with 2 settings of b3ro and b3vo, with the consequence that to constitute a gathering b, the leaves would have to be separated, and either bound singly, or pasted to appropriate leaves (e.g. b2 to b3). This would mean that any printed ‘b4’ would have been produced after the original printing, and, therefore, that the ‘Au lecteur’ of the 1567 issue was added later (perhaps at the instigation of Castellas, sponsor of the edition, rather than by its printer), and subsequently omitted as irrelevant to the circumstances of 1571 (let alone 1620). Certainly a single added leaf would be less likely to survive by accident in a copy of a later issue than a leaf conjugate with (in this case) b1. The fact that b4 is often present, as a blank pasted to b1, may be because it was deemed appropriate to have the emblems facing a blank, possibly to prevent offset.


e,e. s:ns t.ce ---- 3 M.D.LXVII.
e,e. s:ns t.ce ---- 3 M.D.LXXI.
e,e. s:ns t.ce ---- 3 M.DC.XX.


a1ro: title; a1vo: privilege: granted to Philippe de Castellas and Pierre Woeriot (engraver) for 5 years, dated 18 October 1566 [variant: blank (1620 reissue)]; a2ro: dedication: Montenay to Jeanne d’Albret, ends b1ro; b1vo: ‘Aux lecteurs’, ends b3ro; b3vo: ‘A Ma damoiselle Georgette de Montenay, autheur du livre, son humble serviteur, Salut’, signed P.D.C.; b4ro: ‘Au Lecteur’, dated 1 February 1567; b4vo: blank (variant: b4ro-b4vo: blank; see Remarks below); c1ro: emblems begin, and end D4ro; D4vo: blank; E1ro: ‘A la reine de Navarre. Sonnet’; ‘Sonnet’, ends E1vo; E2ro: ‘A Monseigneur de la Caze, Gouverneur de Monseigneur le Prince de Navarre, sur l’envoi des six sonnets suyvans’; 6 sonnets, end E4ro; E4vo: ‘Epistre sur la conservation du présent livre’, ends F2vo, with anagram: GAGE D’OR TOT NE TE MEINE (=GEORGETTE DE MONTENAI); F3ro: ‘Aenigme’, ends F4vo.


100 emblems, usually printed on the recto only (see Collation above, and Remarks below): engraving incorporating the motto, 8-line French verse. Text in italic, 23mm for 5 lines. The engravings have the cross of Lorraine ‘signature’ of Pierre Woeriot, who is also named in the privilege.

GUL: SM771: c5r. Actual page height: 169mm.
GUL: SM771: c5r. Actual page height: 169mm.


The engravings by Pierre Woeriot were used in all the known editions of Montenay’s emblems (see also F.438-439). In many copies a portrait of Montenay, also by Woeriot, dated 1567, is bound in with the preliminaries.

This edition was printed first in 1567, having been in preparation for some years before this date, a fact made clear by the ‘Au lecteur’ on b4ro of the 1567 state, which indicates that although the text was ready in 1561, production was delayed by the religious wars, the engravings in particular having only been completed in 1565 or later, partly because of the presence of the plague in Lyon in 1564 and 1565.

The title of the 1571 issue is a cancel.

Emblem 18 on g2 was modified during, or shortly after printing, and in most copies the engraving was replaced, by pasting over the original. Many 1620 copies do not have this correction.

The whole of gathering a was reset for the 1620 issue. In all the 1620 copies examined, and at least one 1571 copy (Spa MBM) the leaves of gatherings c-D are not cut singly, such that the emblems appear on 1ro, 2vo, 3ro, and 4vo of each of these gatherings.


Praz, p. 431; Landwehr, 529 and 533.

Copies located

A List of Library symbols can be found here.

Bel *BBRKB (1620)
Den *CKB (2 copies, one 1567, one 1620)
Fra *BN (3 copies, all 1571, 2 seen)
Fra *BeBM (1571)
Fra *GBM (1571)
Fra LaRBM (1620, imperfect)
Fra *LBM (2 copies, one 1571, one 1620 (imperfect))
Fra NBM (1571)
Fra *PBArs (2 copies, one 1571, one 1620)
Fra *PBMa (1571)
Fra *VBM (1571)
FRG DSLB (1620)
FRG *WHAB (1620)
Net *AUB (1620)
Net *THKB (1571)
Net UUB (1620)
Spa **MBN (1571)
Swi ZZB (1571)
UKi *BL (1571)
UKi *GU (1571, defective)
UKi *LVAM (1571)
UKi *OB (1571)
USA *CMalG (1571)
USA *CSmH (1620)
USA DFo (1571)
USA *DLC (1571)
USA FU (1620)
USA *ICN (1571)
USA *MH (1571)
USA MnU (1571)
USA *NjP (2 copies, both 1620, one defective)
USA *NN (1571)
USA PSt (2 copies, one 1571, one 1620)
USA *ViU (1571)
USA WaU (1620)


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