The first act of the National Convention after decreeing the abolition of the monarchy was the declaration of the Revolutionary Calendar, which began on 22nd September 1792. It was finally established in November 1793, and this is the publication explaining this decisive break with the absolutist past and the structure of the new calendar, in which the months were names after the prevailing weather or natural season (Vendémiaire, Brumaire, Frimaire etc) and a ten-day week was established. The Calendrier published on the instruction of the Convention is known with several different imprints, but all are rare..see full details
First edition of this set of tables of trade tariffs levied on a huge range of commodities sold in Modena, including food products (including cheese and pasta), beverages (including coffee and tea), herbs, spices, medicinal products, household commodities, paper (several kind are listed) and industrial goods.more...
Edward Jacob ‘antiquary and naturalist, was born in Canterbury, the eldest son of Edward Jacob (d. 1756), surgeon and alderman, who served as mayor of Canterbury in 1727–8, and Jane, daughter of Strangford Violl, vicar of Upminster. About 1735 he moved to Feversham [sic] where he lived at 78 Preston Street and practised as a surgeon, following in his father's and grandfather's footsteps. Among his patients was Lord Sondes of Lees Court, Sheldwich. The Jacobs were a long-established east Kent family and several members had served as mayors and magistrates in Sandwich and Dover. Actively interested in local affairs, Jacob was four times mayor of Faversham—in 1749, 1754, 1765, and 1775...
Jacob interested himself in the history of Faversham soon after he had moved there, ‘having an early propensity to the study of antiquities’. He was elected a fellow of the Society of Antiquaries on 5 June 1755, and in 1774 published The History of the Town and Port of Faversham, dedicated to Lord Sondes’ (Oxford DNB).
This is one of the standard copies with 15 plates, some having an 4 additional plates..see full details
Royalist conter-revolutionary journalist Pitou was arrested no less than 18 times during the revolutionary period before being deported to Cayenne for his royalist sympathies. L’Urne des Stuarts et des Bourbons was written on his escape and return to France..see full details
This little account of the life of Mary Queen of Scots is dedicated (in very indifferent English) by its author to Victor and Adelaide Seymour, a Scottish couple incarcerated in Paris during the Terror. The plates are engraved by the author..see full details
A very rare translation of the pseudonymous Siege of London (1885), probably the first edition in French (a condensed French edition also appeared in 1885).more...
An excellent example of the many British speculative novels spawned by the fear of invasion, from the 1871 Siege of Dorking to Erskine Childers’s Riddle of the Sands (1903). In Posteritas’ account, the invasion is set against the background of a collapsed Gladstone Liberal government and crisis in the Middle East. The French invade via Portsmouth and later Dover and Scotland, with the aid of the perfidious Irish, and the novel culminates with the bombardment of Westminster and the Battle of Hyde Park..see full details
First edition of this history of England (or more properly, Britain) from ancient times to the era of the American Revolution.more...
The third volume, not alwayes present is especially detailed as an account of the British colonial exploits on the American continent and elsewhere. David’s illustrations are characteristically dramatic. The text of the first two volumes (dated 1784) is by Pierre Le Tourneur and Guillaume Germaine Guyot, and of the latter (dated 1800) by Jean Baptiste Gabriel Marie Milcent..see full details
First edition of this collection on the purported conference of Luther with the devil on the subject of the mass, opening with a parallel Latin-French text rendering of his own account, taken from Luther’s 1521 Von der Winckelmesse und Pfaffenweihe (in the collected works in German, Wittenberg, 1558 vol.more...
7, f. 228). It has been attributed both to Bruzeau and the Abbé Cordemoy, and more than one issue appeared (with varying titles ) in 1673.
‘I awoke suddenly at midnight on one occasion, when Satan began to dispute with me in the following terms: “Listen to me,” said the fiend; “enlightened doctor, you have, as you know, celebrated mass privately nearly every day during the last fifteen years. What would you say if every one of these masses should prove to be an act of horrible idolatry? What if the body and blood of Christ had never been present, and you had adored, and had induced other to worship mere bread and wine?”’ (translation from the English edition of Michelet’s Life of Luther)..see full details
First edition of Le Tourneur’s monumental translation, instrumental in securing Shakespeare’s reputation in France.more...
Preceded only by La Place’s pioneering but partial translations (1745-49) and by some individual translations by Voltaire and Ducis, Le Tourneur’s is the first attempt at the complete works. Inspired by the 1769 Shakespeare Jubilee, Le Tourneur prefaces the collection with a long account of the Stratford celebrations presided over by David Garrick (taken without acknowledgement from Benjamin Victor’s History of the Theatres of London, 1771) and with a biography drawn mainly from Rowe. There is also an important critical essay using materials from Rowe, Pope, Theobald, Hanmer, Johnson and Sewell. The extensive subscribers’ lists (a second lists new subscribers since the start of publication) contains prominent names in both France and England.
The story of Shakespeare’s slow acceptance in France, in the face of prevailing classicism, is well known — Le Tourneur’s translations were the first to allow French readers to make their own judgements and they perfectly reflect the transition from classicism to romanticism in French culture. Indeed, the preface is considered to contain the very first printed appearance of the word ‘romantique’ in the French language, with Le Tourneur referring to the suitably romantic prospect of a clouded landscape and then stressing the need for both the word and the concept in French.
The edition provoked the ire of the ageing Voltaire (always ambivalent to Shakespeare) who on receiving the first volume wrote in a letter to friend: ‘I must tell you how upset I am for the honour of the theatre, against a certain Tourneur, who is said to be Secretary of [La Librairie], but who does not seem to me the Secretary of Good taste. Have you read two volumes by this miserable fellow, in which he wants to make us all treat Shakespeare as the only model of true tragedy?... What is frightful is that this monster had a following in France; and the height of calamity and horror is that it was I who was once the first to speak of this Shakespeare, it was I who was the first to show the French some pearls that I discovered in his enormous dung-heap’ (translated by Davidson, Voltaire: a life, 2010, p. 439)..see full details
A copiously-illustrated homage to the Parisian landmark. An English translation appears at the end, concluding: ‘O Moulin Rouge! Thou dost dominate Paris, France, the world. Thy sails turn forever, for the breeze that moves them is the breath of the men who come to admire thee and to adore thee, Mill of Voluptuousness, Tower of Delight, Ark of Alliance, Vessel of Caresses, Star of the Evening, House of Pleasant Weariness, Palace of Languidness, Mystic Rose also, of which each petal is a moving sail capped by a bonnet, O Carnal Vase held towards all men who approach unto love ....’ You get the idea..see full details
Fragerolle had been Erik Satie’s co-pianist at the Chat Noir, composing most of the music for its revues. This is his delightful collection of old French Christmas carols, with ornaments to the wrapper, endpapers and text by Georges Auriol, also a member of the Chat Noir circle and friend of Satie. The wrapper, printed separately by Eugène Verneau and with trademark Auriol lettering, is particularly scarce..see full details
First edition of this classic belle époque survey of the culture of the café-concert and the circus.more...
This copy is number 52 of 100 on chine, with additional folding poster and plate at end, this copy also with an original signed ink and pastel drawing tipped to the front free endpaper inscribed: ‘Pour le bibliophile Edmond Fargeau. Hommage cordiale H.G. Ibels. Xbre 1910’. Ibels was one of the major commercial graphic artists of the period and a collaborator of Toulouse-Lautrec’s..see full details
First edition, rare, of the first systematic theoretical treatise on painting in France by a friend and patron of Nicolas Poussin.more...
No-one before Chambray had had attempted to establish the intellectual foundations of the art of painting, or the permanent and universal criteria for judging pictures. Earlier or contemporary writings such as those by Hilaire Pader, Abraham Bosse, Abbot de Marolles, Félibien or even Dufresnoy do not share either its systematic or quasi-doctrinal qualities.
‘[Fréart’s] ideas on art were crystallised in the Idée de la perfection de la peinture, published in 1662. Chambray intended this as a rule book for art and a guide for contemporary painters. He emphasized the importance of strict, rigorous geometry as truth in art. The Idée served as a manifesto against the sensual and the purely visual, as opposed to intellectual, in painting. Chambray was devoted to the art of Poussin, in which he saw the perfect realization of the classical ideal. He strongly criticized Michelangelo for what he considered extravagant and capricious compositions; he also condemned Rubens, Caravaggio, Tintoretto and Veronese for encouraging a libertine art’ (Grove).
The work refers extensively to Marcontonio Raimondi's engravings of Raphael’s Judgement of Paris, Massacre of the Innocents and Deposition from the Cross, even then described by him as ‘rares et curieuses’, and he recommends the reader furnish himself with copies of these prints in order to follow his argument. It considers in turn the five fundamental principles that the Ancients apparently observed, and that Chambray finds in Junius’ De pictura, as follows: the invention, the proportion, the couleur, the mouvements and the collocation. It begins with a glossary of terms: Estampe, Tramontains, Esleve, Esquisse, Attitude, Pellegrin.
Fréart de Chambray (1606–1676), a close friend of Nicolas Poussin and brother of his patron, sent the painter a copy in Rome and he was thanked in a letter in 1665: ‘I am delighted that you were the first one in France to have opened the eyes of those who until then had only seen through the eyes of others’. Fréart de Chambray was a major artistic influence at the court of Louis XIV and had already published in French works of Euclid Palladio, Vitruvius, Leonardo da Vinci. The Idée was translated into English by John Evelyn as An Idea of the Perfection of Painting in 1668.
This copy is from the collection of French novelist André Malraux (1901-76), with a pencil note to that effect..see full details
An elegant new year gift book, comprising an illustrated survey of the popular French rose varieties, notes on culture and cultivation and a collection of rose poetry, completed with a calendar for the year 1819. The finely engraved plates are after Pancrace Bessa, a pupil and collaborator of Henri Redouté, painting tutor to the duchesse de Berry, and from 1823, official painter at the Museum d’Histoire Naturelle (replacing Redouté). The book was reissued several times with added calendars for successive years. The varieties illustrated include: Grand cuisse de nymphe, Rose de Portland, Damas simple, Manteau d’Evêque and Rose Bichonne..see full details
Two watercolour books kept by an English schoolboy, Henry Moore (born 1831), between the ages of fourteen and seventeen.more...
They are exceptional not for orthodox artistic merit, though they are fine (and sometimes compelling) examples of British naive art, but for their depiction of some of the minutiae of provincial domestic life. Henry was evidently an observant adolescent, who, in addition to making painstaking portraits of his family and views of his local surroundings, recorded such charming details as the pattern on the bedroom carpet at home, a flycatcher’s nest tucked into an iron gate-hinge and the elaborate icing on a traditional English ‘Twelfth Cake’.
A child of the English Midlands, Henry Moore was son of a canal agent at Stone in Staffordshire, a small town on the Trent and Mersey Canal, just South of Stoke on Trent and the Potteries. Many of the best images in his notebooks are of details of the Stone Navigation Office, suggesting the family lived on site, and he includes a fine study of the red brick and slate roofs of the rear of the office, and views of the cart shed, the cow house, the flower garden gate, the strong room, the check office, canal bridges, factory chimneys and a nearby windmill. There are also full- and double-page images of the town and its neighbouring buildings, among which the imposing red brick workhouse is outstanding. He also takes a boy’s interest in boats and trains, with two typical canal boats and a railway engine.
He makes portraits of his younger siblings, girls and boys in contemporary dress and takes pleasure in recording possessions at home: ‘mama’s opal bottle’, ‘mama’s bread-pan’, ‘mama’s great [Staffordshire] jug’, a piano, a Christmas plum pudding, candlesticks, brushes, a mother-of-pearl bookmark and several domestic fabric patterns. There are also records of trips further afield: with boats on the Severn and Mersey, the organ at Worcester, while an intriguing sequence shows domestic details of a particular house in Calthorpe Street, [Bloomsbury, London], with a parlour and bed, carefully depicted.
He was sent to boarding school at Bromsgrove, another canal town some 60 miles away in neighbouring Worcestershire, where he attended the Free School, then undergoing a tercentenary rejuvenation under pioneering schoolmaster John Day Collis (see Oxford DNB). Here, Moore made views of the new school buildings and of the church from the school playground. According to the school records he seems to have been a model student, winning a prize every year and earning a scholarship to Oxford, where he went up to Worcester College in 1849. He took both a BA and MA, became a fellow in the course of 15 years spent at Oxford. He apparently then became a cleric in London.
Moore also includes numerous imaginative scenes, usually rather more crudely drawn than those from life: many are of soldiers in uniform and several are of circus performers. He clearly had access to books too, and there are copies of scenes from Francis Edward Paget’s Hope of the Katzekopfs; Or, the Sorrows of Selfishness. A Fairy Tale (1846), Dickens’s Martin Chuzzlewit (1843), Moule’s English Counties (1837), Shakespeare’s Julius Caesar and Hamlet, Shaw’s Travels (1746 and several later editions) and the ‘Panorama of the Battle of Sabraon’ (exhibited 1846, and perhaps seen either in the flesh or via published engravings)..see full details
An early manuscript version of a notorious libelle against the French royal mistress, which had been composed and published in London (1758-9) and suppressed on the instructions of the French government.more...
A vicious satire, highlighting Madame de Pompadour’s humble origins, the Histoire articulates the familiar anxiety over the power and influence of a woman at court. While not overtly pornographic, its theme is the profound immorality surrounding the court of Louis XV.
The author, Marianne-Agnès Pillement, a defrocked nun, is a most interesting figure, publishing several novels in Paris before being forced to flee to London where she made a living as a tutor to the children of the wealthy. The purpose of Histoire de Madame de Pompadour seems to have been blackmail. English, French and German editions appeared in 1758 and 1759 (it is not clear which came first) with London imprints though they may well have been printed abroad (ESTC hazards Leipzig, Holland and the Low Countries as possibilities for the several early editions). French agents in London were charged with the purchase and destruction of copies, though the number of distinct issues and editions suggests the publishers outwitted them. As always with such clandestine works, manuscripts were also a tempting option. Our example contains the full text (with numerous minor variations) together with some additional materials, including a version of Madame Pompadour’s will.
Loosely inserted is a mildly-plausible forgery of a Pompadour autograph letter dated 1749, accompanied by a much later expertise by the Paris autograph dealer Charavay declaring it “fausse”..see full details