Bosse 1745, new rolling press design


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BOSSE, Abraham (1602–1676); Charles Nicolas COCHIN, fils, (1715–1790) 

De la manière de graver a l’eau forte et au burin. Et de la gravûre en manière noire. Avec la façon de constrruire les presses modernes, & d’imprimer en Taille-douce … Nouvelle édition. Revûe, corrigée & augmentée du double, et enrichie de dix-neuf planches en taille-douce.

Paris: chez Charles-Antoine Jombert, 1745.

8vo: a8 b8 A–M8, 112 leaves, pp. [xxxii] 186 [6]. Advertisements on last 6 pages. Woodcut initials, typographic decorations, full page engraved dedication on a2, engraved headpieces on pp. 1 (by Fossard after Cochin, fils),  49, 97 (unsigned) and 129 (Soubeyran after Bosse).

15 plates: engraved title and 19 foldout plates numbered Pl. 1–9 (at p. 48), 10–13 (at p. 128) and 14–19 (at p. 162). 

Condition: 118 x 190mm. Pl. 14 lightly browned. A nice fresh copy. 

Binding: Contemporary mottled calf, marbled endleaves, red page edges. Corners worn, spine very lightly rubbed. 

Provenance: Contemporary bookseller’s label, ‘Du Catalogue des Freres Perisse, Imprimeurs-Libraires, rue Merciere, no. 15, à Lyon’, completed in manuscript. Shelf mark ‘1810 S459 no.6’ in MS on endleaf.  

Third edition (first 1645, second 1701). References. Stijnman 042.8; Bigmore and Wyman I, p. 72; Cohn-de Ricci col 177; Cicognara 254.

The most important revision of Bosse’s treatise on engraving and copperplate printing, first printed in 1645. For the text of the first edition, see the 1701 reprinting, above. 

The ‘Avertissement’ (pp. v–xi) sets out the changes and additions. Bosse gave more space to etching using ‘vernis dur’ or hard etching-ground, by which means he was able to imitate line engraving, than to the ‘vernis mol’ or soft etching-ground (not to be confused with soft-ground etching). The new edition therefore adds new material on the use of the soft etching-ground, and also adds to what Bosse wrote on engraving with the burin. There are new sections on mezzotint and on Le Blon’s colour printing; and the sections on the rolling press have been re-arranged, and supplied with new illustrations to take account of changes in the design of the press since Bosse’s time. In addition to this ‘Avertissement’ there is ‘Préface de l’editeur’ (pp. xix–xxiv). Here Cochin discusses the change of taste from the engraving style using the hard etching-ground, of which Bosse was the master, to the more fluid freehand style that we now associate with etching which depends on the use of a soft etching-ground. Cochin goes on to mention a number of engravers and their styles, and the appropriate uses of etching or engraving with the burin according to the subject.

‘Cochin … engraved as much as he designed, and his revision of Bosse’s Treatise on Engraving shows the study which he had devoted to his art’ (Hind p. 214).

Eleven of the plates are from the original coppers which Bosse made for the 1645 edition (including the dedication plate ‘Aux amateurs de cet art’ which was not used in the 1701 edition) with some additional lettering and an extra figure on what is now plate 10. (Jombert owned a huge stock of copperplates, including many of Bosse’s plates illustrating other works, and was to publish a two volume Repertoire des artistes of impressions from his plates in 1765). The plates of the present work are made up as follows: the engraved title, dedication, and plates 1–8 are from the original plates; plate 10 is the original plate 9; plate 16 is the original plate 14; plates 9, 12–15 and 17–19 are new. The new plate 9, signed ‘F. Ertinger, sc’ shows an artist in a studio, containing books, sculptures and prints, rocking an etching bath on his knee; plates 12–13 are of mezzotint tools and the sequence of laying the mezzotint ground; plates 14–15 and 17 are engravings of the up-to date press, replacing Bosse’s now out-of-date design; plate 18 is a view of the pressman operating the press, signed ‘G. Fessard Sculp’ and plate 19 shows the workbench with the brazier, inking and wiping equipment. The headpieces are scenes showing pouring acid on the plate; smoking the plate; etching and sharpening tools; and the last shows the rolling press printer’s shop and is a copy of Bosse’s large plate of 1643.