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A FRIEND IN NEED IS A FRIEND INDEED

[WASSENAER VAN STADT, J. A. H.]. [Album Amicorum]. [Holland], s.n, 1765.

Oblong 8vo [18.5 x 11.6], (82) ff., all blank except for watercolor drawing on f. 4r. Bound in contemporary mottled calf, elaborately gold tooled spine, boards and board edges, all edges gilt and gauffered. Minor rubbing to spine and board, minor chipping to extremities of spine. Apart from minor staining in the gutter of one quire, very well preserved (blank)

$1,150

Very rare example of a bespoke (and nearly) blank album amicorum from 18th-century Holland, preserved in entirely contemporary condition and complete with its original, elaborately decorated binding. The only entry in the book is its watercolor frontispiece of a putto as an emblem of painting: The cupid is posed as if writing an inscription (or making a portrait) on a marble plaque, but the plaque remains blank, the owner of the book having never filled it in.

The lower cover of the binding is gold-stamped ‘Album Amicorum’ and ‘Anno 1765. Den 3 Jannuary,’ while the upper cover is stamped with the Latin motto ‘Amicus certus in re incerta cognitus’ and the name of a certain ‘J. A. H. Wassenaer van Stadt’. Little is known of this man, but he is likely the ‘J. A. H. Wassenaer’ who signed the privilege leaf of Gerard Sweiten’s Commentaria in Hermanni Boerhaave Aphorismos de cognoscendis et curandis morbis (Leiden, J. and H. Verbeek, 1752). The Latin motto is an adaptation of the famous ‘Amicus certus in re incerta cernitur,’ a quotation from the poet Ennius found in Cicero’s De amicitia (XVII.64): “A sure friend is recognized in an unsure situation” (“A friend in need is a friend indeed”).

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