Wright.   Michael     - One of the largest engraved plates of a dinner table
Roger, Earl of Castlemaine's Embassy,
AN ACCOUNT OF HIS EXCELLENCE Roger Earl of Castlemaine's Embassy, From His Sacred Majesty JAMES the 11d. King of England, Scotland, France, and Ireland, &c. To His Holiness INNOCENT X1. PUBLISHED FORMERLY IN THE ITALIAN TONGUE, By Mr. MICHAEL WRIGHT, Chief Steward of His Excellences House at Rome. And now made English, With several Amendments, and Additions. Licensed Roger L'Estrange. LONDON, Printed by Tho. Snowden for the Author. 1688.
FIRST ENGLISH EDITION. Large 4to. The inside cover with armorial ex-libris of 'Sir James Graham. Bart'. 2fep. [1]An engraved portrait frontispiece of Earl of Castlemaine kissing Pope Innocent X!'s feet and the angels holding a portrait of King James 11. Title page. A full page engraved portrait of Queen Maria D.G. on the verso. 2pp dedication 'To the Queen'. 1-116. 2fep. 14 further engraved plates plus one that is a folding double page, together measuring a huge 114cm x 33cm. (It had a tear that has been expertly repaired with no loss). Original full brown calf with wonderful patina. blind tooling on the boards with raised bands on spine compartments. One old faded gilt label. The text block nice a clean and all the illustration very fresh and sharp. Overall a very nice, desirable copy with wide page margins.
- The first English edition of Michael John Wright's (1625?-1700) description of Roger Palmer, the Earl of Castlemaine's (1634-1705) embassy to Pope Innocent X1. The first edition was in Italian, published in Rome one year earlier. Castlemaine was made a member of King James 11's secret council of Catholics. When James 11 decided to establish relations with Rome, Castlemaine was appointed His Majesty's accredited ambassador to the curia. He departed from Greenwich on 25th February 1685. Apparently, despite all the pomp and circumstance of Castlemaine's entrance, the Pope gave him a cold reception and was ultimately put-off with Castlemaine's pomp and zeal in trying to strengthen James 11's ties with Rome. During this trip Wright was Castlemiane's major-domo and his Account describes the feasts and festivities of Castlemaine's efforts to impress Pope Innocent X1. The book is of great culinary interest because of its description of the foods created for and eaten by Castlemaine and his entourage, as well as for the wonderful baroque plates engraved by Arnold Van Westerhout (after drawings by Giovanni Battista Lenardi) of the banquet Castlemaine organised for the Pope. Foods eaten include pickles, parmesan cheese, 'Bologna-Sauciges', meat courses announced with wind instruments, ortolans, 'Taratufoli' (Truffles), sweetmeats, wines, fruits, liquors etc etc. The plates depict Castlemaine's banquet table arrayed with numerous 'Trionfi' (triumphs) sculptures of historical and mythological figures made from sugar' Quoting from the text, Michael Wright states; "The breadth of the said Table was eight foot, and thro' the middle of it, from one end to other ran a Range of Historical Figures, some almost half as big as life. They are made of a sugar paste, (similar to modern Pastilliage) but modelled to the utmost skill of a Statuary. Afterwards they are sent as presents to the greatest Ladies. Their use at entertainments is to gratifie the eye as the Meat, Musique, and Perfumes, do the other Senses." The very large folding table plate depicts this banquet table and most of the additional plates illustrate the most elaborate of the Trionfi as well as the fantastic and beautiful ornate coaches Castlemaine used. The engraver was Arnold van Westerhout. A sumptuous book for any cookery collection. Lowndes 1V, 3003. Wing W-3702.

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Antiquarian category
ref number: 10985