Friday, 4 May 2012

The Engravings of 'Les Delices De La Suisse', 1714 (Part One)

Les Delices de la Suisse, 1714

In my ever varied collection are two original volumes (III & IV) of a four volume French language work published in 1714 and entitled "Les Delices De La Suisse" ('The Delights of Switzerland'). These two volumes, the work of Gottlieb Kypesler of Munster, were published in Leiden by Pierre vander Aa and contain a series of very detailed historic engravings which for some time I have wished to share.

This has up till now presented some challenging problems, primarily the need to protect the now very fragile but intact original binding. With my own 16 year background and training in conservation I appreciated the need to ensure that these volumes did not suffer any damage.  I did however wish to use my own images which maintains the integrity of the two original volumes and also better portrays that 'aura' of age rather than the plain black and white copies available (only) via Google Books. A better quality camera plus a newly purchased high resolution scanner with some very useful options has now produced better than hoped for results. Some very slight blurring down the centre line on some scanned images and very slight warping of photographed images has been unavoidable while the photographed images have a slightly grey tone.  

Interestingly, both volumes carry the bookplate of James Ambrose Story B.A., who in 1890 published a small volume of poems in London entitled "Carmina Silvulae".

I recently discovered a wonderful series of mechanical print 'photochrom' colour images from circa 1890 - 1900 which included a number of the above town and villages. I have included these (mainly in the second blog of this series) along with a recent image in the manner of "Then and Now Views". It has not always been possible to find an image from the same aspect or with an obvious point of reference.

Remember that these (almost) 300 years old copper plate engravings were executed in reverse, the skill of the now unknown engravers - and their eyesight - is truly incredible. I have included a Wikipedia link under each modern image should you wish to learn more about these historic places. Enjoy these views!

Geneva (Geneve) in the Geneva Canton, 1714

Geneva Today
[Link to Wikipedia]

Lake Geneva (Lac Leman), 1714

A aerial view of Lake Geneva (Lac Leman
[Link to Wikipedia]

Bad Zurzach in the Aargau Canton, 1714

Bad Zurzach Today
[Link to Wikipedia]

Baden (Bade)  in the Aargau Canton, 1714

Baden Today
[Link to Wikipedia]

Bremgarten in the Aargau Canton, 1714

Bremgarten Today
[Link to Wikipedia]

Kaiserstuhl (Keiserstoul)
in the Aargau Canton, 1714

Kaiserstuhl Today
[Link to Wikipedia]

Muri Abbey (Abbaye de Mouri)
in the Aargau Canton, 1714

Muri Abby [Kloster Muri] Today
[Link to Wikipedia]

Pierre Pertuis in the Bern Canton, 1714
(There does appear to have been some 'artistic licence' with this image)

The natural stone arch of Pierre Pertuis near Tavannes
[Information link]

The [thermal] Baths of Leuk (Bain de Leuk)
in the Valais Canton, 1714

The Spa Town of Leukerbad today
[Link to Wikipedia]

Sion (Sedunum) in the Valais Canton, 1714

Sion (Sedunum) in the Valais Canton
From a photochrom print, circa 1890 - 1900
[Source : Library of Congress

Sion Today
[Link to Wikipedia]

Bishoffszell (Bischofszell)
 in Thurgau Canton, 1714

Bischofszell Today
[Link to Wikipedia]

Bibliography :

- "Les Delices De La Suisse : Tome Troisieme et Tome Quatrieme MDCCXIV from my own collection.
- Unless oltherwise stated all images are from my own collection but may be freely copied for personal use provided a link is given back to this page.
- Various Internet resources incl. Wikipedia

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