Catalogue des Livres, Imprimés et Manuscrits, de la Bibliotheque de feu Monseigneur Le Prince de Soubise, Maréchal de France, dont la Vente sera indiquée par Affiches au mois de Janvier 1789.

xvi, 643, [1], 90 pp. Thick 8vo, attractive antique half-calf & marbled boards (title a little dusty), spine gilt, red morocco lettering piece on spine, uncut. Paris: Leclerc, 1788.

This vast library of 8302 lots (containing about 20,000 books) comprised the components of no less than three other celebrated collections: those of Jean Grolier, de Thou, and the Président Charron de Ménars. De Thou’s library, with all its Grolier books, passed en bloc in 1681 into Ménar’s library, on whose decease it passed into the possession of the Cardinal de Rohan. By the continued care of the Cardinal and his successors, down to the Prince de Soubise, the library received constant accessions, until it became one of the most considerable in France.

Soubise (1715-87), the charming favorite of Louis XV and Mme de Pompadour, made up for being one of the worst field commanders in French history — his defeat at Rossbach by Frederick the Great in 1757 became a classic of its kind, still commented upon by Napoleon half a century later — by being one of the best French book collectors of his time.

To the collection he inherited, Soubise added “an enormous quantity of works remarkable for their interest, rarity and value” (Olivier, Pl. 2034) which he had bound in light-brown calf, with his armorial bearings on the spine. There was hardly a book sale at which he did not buy — “c’était une frénésie chez lui” (Guigard). He owned twelve Grolier bindings. The Comte d’Artois was the principal buyer at the sale; these books are, of course, now at the Arsénal.

A very good copy. The very rare eight-page schedule of the sale is not present.

❧ Grolier Club, Printed Catalogues of French Book Auctions…1643-1830, 338. Guigard, II, pp. 415-17. Peignot, p. 125. Taylor, Book Catalogues, pp. 20, 131, 151, 207, 221, & 263.

Price: $3,500.00

Item ID: 1930

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