Danse macabre, Troyes, after 1766

Troyes, after 1766. The inferior copy is used on the front page and on page 54.
Garnier, Troyes 1766

On the previous pages we saw how the family Oudot for more than 100 years, between ca. 1600 and 1729, published the Parisian "Danse Macabre", and how the old woodcuts were replaced by copies.

The book to the left was published by Jean-Antoine Garnier (1742-1780), who was active as a printer/publisher between 1766 and 1780.

The book doesn't have a year of publication, but the front page says »avec permission«, and the last page reproduces the royal permission that his grandfather, Pierre Garnier, had received in 1728. The permit covers ca. 10 specific titles, among these "La grande danse macabre".

The good copy is used on pages 3 and 34
Garnier, Troyes 1766

Here is yet another copy of the cadaver musicians and this time it is obvious that it's a copy. The copyist has hardly even bothered to copy the vegetation in the background. And one wonders why it has been necessary to produce such a bad copy when the Garnier still had the good copy — the one that the family Oudot had been using since 1641 — this woodcut is in fact used inside the book (picture to the right).

The explanation may have something to do with the fact that the address on the front page of this book is the same as in Oudot's 1700 and 1729-editions: Ruë du Temple. In 1762 Jean-Antoine Garnier's father, Jean Garnier, wanted to expand his business, and so he bought the house at the corner of Rue du Temple from the widow of Jean IV Oudot.

It would appear that the Garnier family took over the good copies along with Oudot's workshop, so maybe the bad copies originate from grandfather Pierre's 1728-edition? This could also explain why Jean-Antoine Garnier have chosen to feature the inferior copy on the frontpage, out of veneration for his grandfather, while hiding the good copy away inside the book.

The living queen gets the bad copy.
Garnier, Troyes 1766
The dead queen gets the good copy.
Garnier, Troyes 1766

A similar phenomenon is seen with the dead queen at the end of the dance. The publisher has illustrated this scene with a woodcut of the (living) queen from Oudot's 1641-edition (billedet til højre).

But the woodcut is not the same, as the one illustrating the living queen (to the left), which is an inferior copy without plants in the background.

The cardinal is signed "VERNIE".
Troyes Vernie

Something similar happens with the dead king. He is also illustrated with an image of the living king, but in this case the same inferior copy is used in both places. Incidentally this woodcut is the only one that has been signed: Below the cardinal and king is written "VERNIE", so the woodcutter was apparently named Vernier.

Astrologer and citizen get the good copy.
Garnier, Astrologer and citizen
Lawyer and minstrel get the bad copy.
Garnier, Lawyer and minstrel

We saw on the previous page about Oudot, how the woodcut with astrologer and citizen must have disappeared and how the publisher instead had used the woodcut with lawyer and minstrel twice.

It still holds true that only the existing woodcuts get copied. Garnier didn't have an examplar of Miroer Salutaire, and once an image was gone, it was gone.

On the other hand he had two sets of copies, so he used the good copy of lawyer and minstrel for illustrating astrologer and citizen (picture to the left), while lawyer and minstrel themselves got the bad copy (picture to the right).

The authority is a cadaver.
Garnier, Troyes 1728
The authority is the month of April.
Garnier, Troyes 1766

The publishers have been very creative when they had to illustrate the authorities that introduce the two dances. The have dug deeply into the chest with (copies of) old woodcuts from the old shepherd's calendars.

The authority who introduces the men's dance is illustrated with a woodcut of a cadaver with a coffin, while the authority, who introduces the women's dance, is illustrated with a image of the month of April.


The woodcuts had another renaissance in 1862.


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