Printed 1777: The earliest instance of a self-compiled catalogue raisonné and a landmark work history of copyright protection.
[FINE PRESS] [HISTORY OF PRINTING][COPYRIGHT LAW] Lorrain, Claude [Laude Gelee] Liber Veritatis; Or, a collection of prints after the original designs of Claude Le Lorrain; in the collection of His Grace the Duke of Devonshire, executed by Richard Earlom… London: Messrs. Boydell and Co., n.d. (dated 1777 in the preface) Two volumes. Folio: frontispiece, 18 pp., 100 plates in mezzotint printed in bistre by Earlom after Claude, frontispiece, 10 pp., 100 plates in mezzotint printed in bistre. 3/4 red morocco and marbled bords, spines richly gilt. Provenance: Sir William Eden Bart, his bookplates with laid in gift presentation note from Robert Goff. Abbey Life 200. $14,000
A magnificent and unusually clean set of a great work in the history of the book. Abbey, without exaggeration, describes it as “a capital work, a landmark in the history of reproduction master drawings.” Its compilation was intended to protect Claude from numerous forgeries and imitators, and as such, it is perhaps the earliest instance of a self-compiled catalogue raisonné. A work of enormous influence that even Turner sought to emulate with his Liber Studiorum, it also ranks as one of the great causes célèbres in the history of copyright protection, vying with Dürer’s challenge to Marcantonio Raimondi’s, Ruben’s privilege applications, and William Hogarth’s lobbying for the first English Copyright Act. A third volume was eventually published in 1819.