MEDICI, Marie de', Queen consort of France (1575-1642) - JOINVILLE, Jean, Sieur de (?1224-1317). Histoire de S. Loys IX du Nom, Roy de France. Paris: Sebastien Cramoisy, 1617.

$ 78,000.00

MEDICI, Marie de', Queen consort of France (1575-1642) - JOINVILLE, Jean, Sieur de (?1224-1317). Histoire de S. Loys IX du Nom, Roy de France. Paris: Sebastien Cramoisy, 1617.

2 parts in one volume. 4to., (9 6/8 x 6 6/8 inches). Title-pages printed in red and black, 2 full-page engraved portraits of St. Louis and Louis XIII by Léonard Gaultier, half-page text engraving of coins, woodcut criblé and ornamental initials, head- and tail-pieces, ruled in red for presentation throughout (small stain at the foot of the first title-page, Aii-Aiv tipped in on new guards). EXCEPTIONALLY FINE contemporary binding of Paris olive morocco, possibly by the workshop of Clovis Eve, each cover elaborately decorated with a border of gilt filets surrounding gilt fleur-de-lis and crowned M monogram [fer 4] at each corner, with the supra libros of Marie de Medicis [Olivier 2504, fer 2] in the center, the smooth spine similarly decorated with fine small fleur-de-lis tools and the M monogram at the centre, gilt edges (very minor repairs at corners and joints).

Provenance: with the presentation binding of Marie de' Medici (1575-1642); [attributed to the library of William Beckford, although not in his 1882 sales, but ascribed to him on label of; Adolphe Bordes, with his book label on the recto of the last blank; from the library of Jacques Guérin, his sale Paris, Drouot, 7 June 1990, 29; from the library of Jean Bonna, with his discreet booklabel on the front paste-down, his sale Christie's 16th June 2015, lot 101.


This classic history of King St. Louis, written by his contemporary Jean de Joinville, who took the cross in 1248 and joined the first crusade of Louis IX, was first published in 1547 from a manuscript copy from the library of King René. The biography was written in 1309, half a century after the Seventh Crusade and twelve years after Louis’s canonization, and details the entire reign of Louis IX including both of his crusades to the East and his death and canonization. The present edition is based on another, newly discovered manuscript and is joined by a second part: "Sancti Ludovici Francorum Regis, Vita, Conversatio et Miracula. Per F. Gaufidum de Bello-loco Confessorem, & F. Guilelmum Carnotensem Capellanum eius, Ordini Praeicatorrum..." (Paris: Sebastien Cramoisy, 1617), which includes texts on St. Louis, which appear here for the first time.

In a magnificent binding by Clovis Eve, typically festooned with gilt fleur-de-lis tools, and ruled in red throughout, for presentation to Marie de' Medici, who became sole monarch of France when her husband, Henri IV king of France, to whom this book is dedicated, was assassinated in 1610. Henri IV had largely married her for her financial connections and her dowry, and the French aristocracy always begrudged the queen her foreign descent. The great Florentine Medici family were extremely wealthy bankers and the main money-lenders of France - a Medici princess would have brought with her a dowry of 600 000 crowns. In fact Marie was cruelly nicknamed the 'fat-banker' by Henri's jealous mistresses.  

When the king died in 1610, the aristocracy accused her of favouring (in particular financially) the Italian members of the court which eventually lead to a rebellion on the part of the nobles in 1614. The heir to the throne, the queen's eldest son by Henri IV, Louis XIII, or Louis le Dauphin, father of the great Louis XIV le Roi-Soleil, grew up caught between his mother the Queen and the dissatisfaction of the French aristocracy, and so in 1617, when this book was published, he exiled her which resulted in a series of guerres de la mere et du fils or 'mother and son wars'.  There is a delicious irony in the presentation of this book about the saintly Louis IX to the mother of another Louis who has just exiled her in a very unsaintly fashion. 

nevertheless France had much to be grateful to Marie de' Medici for. For one thing, France had been waiting for an heir to the throne for forty years when Henri IV married Marie de Medici, and the Italian princess she gave him six children in the space of nine years. When she died in Cologne in 1642 she was buried with little ceremony in Saint-Denis but her heart was taken to Le Flèche to be placed in her husband's sepulchre, Henri IV's dying wish. Born and brought up in Florence, and artistically gifted herself, she greatly appreciated painting, theatre and music, and was a great patron of the arts in France. There is no doubt that she contributed greatly to France's growing artistic sensibility in the years of her reign, and beyond. Catalogued by Kate Hunter