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    Lazare de Baïf. De Re Navali Libellus, in adolescentulorum bonarum literarum studiorum favorem, ex Bayfi vigiliis excerptus. Paris: François Estienne, 1537. Small octavo. 91, [1, blank], [20, Index] pages. Title page device and eight woodcuts in-text attributed to Oronce Finé. Original limp vellum wrappers; somewhat soiled, lacking front fly-leaf, front hinge split but contents firmly attached. Internally generally bright and clean, title page toned and with some spotting, old ink annotation (partially crossed out), some minor toning to text block, primarily confined to margins, very light, scattered foxing. Text complete. Very good.

    This volume is a first printing of Charles Estienne's only illustrated children's book (and the first book published by François Estienne); it was reprinted several times afterwards but without woodcuts -- except for the 1553 collected printing of his little books for children (see Schreiber 132). The woodcuts in this volume, depicting sections of a ship as well as fully rigged vessels, have been called the first illustrations intended specifically for children. This "Little Book of Ships for Young Men to Study" is adapted from the author's scholarly monograph on ancient ships published by Robert Estienne the previous year (Schreiber 53). To help his young readers, Charles has added French equivalents for all technical and nautical terms, while the illustrations are keyed to a Latin-French glossary at the end.

    The preface of this volume is addressed specifically to "adolescentuli" where he mentions the need to combine "utilitas" (usefulness) with "gratia" (enjoyment). Some of the larger text initials were cut by Geoffroy Troy.

    Buisson 51; Renouard, Estienne 97:6; USTC 88515; not in Schreiber's Estienne catalogue.

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    December, 2020
    16th Wednesday
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