Salad Days
By LA SALE, Antoine de , 1521
£75,000
BUY

La Salade, nouvelleme[n]t imprimee laquelle fait mension de tous les pays du monde Et du pays de la belle Sybille avec la figure pour aller au mont de la belle Sibille Et aussi la figure de la Mer & de la terre et plusieurs belles remonstrances.

  • Author: LA SALE, Antoine de
  • Publication place: [Paris,
  • Publisher: veuve de Michel Le Noir,
  • Publication date: 1521].
  • Physical description: Quarto (254 by 180mm), (4 ff.), lxiii ff. lxxiii, numerous illustrations within text, three folding plates, several leaves (mainly the last nine) with loss to upper corner, skilfully repaired in facsimile, some stains and wormholes on the last leaves, contemporary full panelled calf, blind fillet borders, with gilt foliate device to corner and centre, spine in six compartments separated by raised bands.
  • Inventory reference: 21873

Notes

An eclectic miscellany of moral, didactic, and chivalric treatises, ‘La Salade’ also contains the earliest printed map to name the Antipodes.

Prepared by Antoine de La Sale for his pupil, Jean II of Anjou, Duke of Lorraine, the title, ‘La Salade’, is not only a pun on de La Sale’s name, but also reflects the varied composition of the work – as de La Sale notes in the introduction, “in the salad are several good herbs” (trans.). The contents cover a variety of subjects edifying for a fledgling duke: a treatise on the eight virtues useful to a prince, stories and stratagems from ancient authors like Valerius Maximus and Frontinus, accounts of de La Sale’s own adventures in Sicily, geography, and the ceremonies and ordinances of Philip IV of France. ‘La Salade’ is also one of the earliest European texts to provide information about Iceland and Greenland, previously “unknown to our astrologers due to their long harsh winters” (trans.).

The text is illustrated throughout and includes folding plates that depict “Le Mont de la Sibille” and the genealogical tree of the House of Aragon – as well as a map of the world.

The map

The world map is a “curious ensemble” (Shirley), combining ideas from the classical world (in particular, those of Pomponius Mela) with medieval and more contemporary concepts. It is also the earliest printed map to name the Antipodes. England and Scotland are shown separated by a strait, as is the case also in early portolan charts, while Africa appears as a peninsula. Present in the south is the “Regio Patalis”, a name drawn from Pliny, which hints at the presence of Australia.

Antoine de La Sale (c1386-c1461)

Born the illegitimate son of Bernard de La Sale, French mercenary captain turned Tard-Venus bandit, de La Sale entered the court of the dukes of Anjou in 1402. In the 50 years that he spent in their service, he moved through the ranks, from page to squire, to soldier, to administrator, eventually taking up a position as “gouverneur”, that is tutor and mentor, to Jean II of Anjou, Duke of Lorraine, for whom he wrote ‘La Salade’. In 1448, he became “gouverneur” to the sons of Louis de Luxembourg, Count of St Pol, for whom he wrote a book similar to ‘La Salade’, known as ‘La Sale’. Among his other works are a treatise on the organization of tournaments, a “consolatio” to Catherine de Neufville, on the death of her son, and ‘Le Petit Jehan de Saintré’, a light and witty chivalric romance.

Rare: we are only aware of one example of the first edition appearing at auction in the last 40 years.

Bibliography

  1. Bechtel, L.54-L55
  2. Brunet, III, 854
  3. Shirley [World], 50
  4. Tchйmerzine, IV, pp. 59-61.

Image gallery

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