1 p.l., 557 pp.; 1 p.l., lvi,  (errata), 112 pp. Two vols, cont. French red half-morocco & red glazed boards, flat spines richly gilt, fore-edges untrimmed. London [i.e. Aix-en-Provence]: “N. Aphobe” [=Fearless], 1789.
First edition, one of 50 sets printed on Holland paper, ruled throughout in red, and bound in contemporary French red half-morocco. This is the very fine William Beckford (Hamilton Palace sale, 1883, lot 1370) — Earl of Rosebery (his sale Sotheby’s, London, 28 Oct. 1975, lot 332) — Major Adrian L. McLaughlin (bookplate, his sale Sotheby’s Monaco, 7 Oct. 1980, lot 1487) set.
The Abbé Rive (1730-91), served as librarian to the Duc de la Vallière, who had formed the most important collection of books of the 18th century. After the Duc’s death, Debure, van Praet, and Nyon were selected to prepare the catalogue of the library, which appeared in 1783. Rive, who had a controversial disposition, was greatly offended for having been ignored. “Six years later in 1789, the Abbé repeated and amplified his attacks in La Chasse aux bibliographes, in which he rakes together everything that the most vindictive spite can suggest, not only concerning the two bibliographers Debure and van Praet and their catalogue, but concerning his late patron, the Duc de la Vallière, and, indeed, all others whom he deemed his enemies, who had any part in the slight which he conceived had been put upon him. Undoubtedly, in spite of all its vindictive bitterness, or perhaps, partly owing to this, it is a book full of interest to all bibliophiles and bibliographers, as well as of no little use for elucidating some obscure points in literary history.”–R.C. Christie, “The Catalogues of the Library of the Duc de la Vallière” in Library Chronicle, II (1885), pp. 153-59.
Rive extended his attacks to Lelong, Maittaire, Maugérard, Maury, Mercier de St. Léger, Niceron, and other contemporaries.
In 1786, Rive became librarian at Aix where this book was printed.
❧ Bigmore & Wyman, II, p. 261. Brunet, IV, 1321–“Satire violente contre plusieurs bibliographes plus habiles, et surtout plus estimables que l’abbé Rive.”.
Item ID: 2052