1723. Saint Omer: Par Martin Dominique Fertel, Imprimeur & Marchand Libraire, 1723.
4to, , 292, [9, index, additions, errata] pp. Numerous tables and facsimile title pages, 2 in-text illustrations and 5 folding plates (see below). 19th century brown quarter leather with brown publisher's cloth over boards; marbled endpapers and edges. Binding a little worn and bumped but sound, scattered foxing but generally clean. Early ownership inscription on title-page and dedication. Small bookplate on front pastedown with monogram C.H.W.
§ First edition, first printing of the first major French manual on printing and the first book on book design in any language. "The four parts of Fertel's work cover type and composition, imposition and press correction, accentuated letters and punctuation, and press work. Fertel (1648-1752) had a shop in St. Omer from 1713 until his death in 1752. After becoming a printer in 1704 he travelled for about 10 years through France, Italy and Flanders, familiarizing himself with printing techniques and products. Not finding a printing manual anywhere, he decided to print his own." (Jeremy Norman, History of Information).
There are five folding plates, here present in very good condition: two depict suggested layouts of various type trays, one gives an example layout of a genealogical chart, and two bear engravings of presses.
Bigmore & Wyman, A Bibliography of Printing, 2nd ed., 1945, p. 215: "This very curious and esteemed work has been reprinted, with additions, by Annoy van de Wyder, Bruxelles: 1822".
Updike, Printing Types, 1927, p.260: "It is the first treatise written in French, the aim of which was to show how to arrange a book clearly and attractively. It is admirably done, and should be consulted by anyone wishing to reconstitute French typography of the early eighteenth century. Fournier rated Fertel's work very high." It is relatively well represented in institutions but extremely uncommon in the trade. Item #125540