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Book Collecting: A Guide for Amateurs
written by "Slater, J. Herbert (John Herbert), 1854-1921"
...k may occasionally be snapped up for a hundredth part of its worth, not so a magnificent specimen of binding, which courts further inquiries on the part of the vendor, and, as we all know, "further inquiries" are usually fatal to the would-be snapper-up of unconsidered valuables. Louis de Sainte-Maure was a contemporary of Grolier, and like him an enthusiastic book hunter. His bindings are said to be even rarer still. They too are tooled with geometrical figures, and on the side, in the centre, is the inscription, "Invia virtuti nulla est via". Diana of Poitiers, the mistress of Henri II. of France (cir. 1540), was another famous collector, who spent vast sums on binding her books. The designs were made in all probability by Le Petit Bernard, one of the most famous engravers of his day, and her books, like those of Grolier, were gold tooled on both back and sides. Diana's device consisted of a bow and a crescent, sometimes with a sheaf of arrows. Those books which the infatuated Henri sent to his mistress bear the H. surmounted by a crown and flanked by the fleur-de-lys. Henri was himself a collector of no mean order, and his volumes, like those belonging to the fair Diana, have their countless worshippers. The king, whatever the laxity of his morals, was a stickler for etiquette, and drew a wide distinction between a mistress and a wife. Some of his books are stamped with the interwoven initials H. and D., and ornamented with the usual emblems of the chase, but no crown is observable. That makes its appearance over a solitary H., banished, so to speak, [106] to the remoter regions of the cover. Sometimes the initials are changed to H. C., interwoven and surmounted by the crown, and then we know that Henri chose to honour his wife Catherine de Medicis with notice. Diana's library at the Château d'Anet was dispersed by auction in 1723: it contained volumes of the most varied descriptions, lives of the saints and lewd song...

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