xii, 490 pp. 8vo, cont. calf (well-rebacked to match), gilt fillet round sides, spine gilt, green morocco lettering piece on spine. London: Printed at Barker & Son, 1802.
A rare auction catalogue; the collection was purchased before the sale en bloc by Trinity College, Dublin. The Fagel library, formed over the course of almost two centuries by a politically powerful Dutch family, today is one of the most important collections at Trinity College, Dublin. “The Fagel library was the product of a century of rich Amsterdam taste, remarkable fo its large collection of maps and of European topography and views, though its ten thousand political pamphlets may have been the principal attraction for the College. Traditional Dutch interest in gardens was represented by de luxe copies of botanical works with the plates illuminated and the titles lettered in gold, and by volumes of drawings of flowers by Nicolas Robert and of tulips by a native artist, the latter annotated with the prices paid for Semper Augustus and other varieties during the tulip mania.”–Hobson, Great Libraries, pp. 180-82.
“While Henrik Fagel, Greffier or Chief Minister of Holland, was in England on a diplomatic mission during the winter of 1794-95, his country was overrun by French revolutionary forces, preventing his return to his family and home in The Hague. Initially his property was sequestrated but it was released by mid 1798, and his art collections and library were shipped to London where Fagel, in straightened financial circumstances, had determined to sell them. Through the good offices of John Foster, Speaker of the Irish House of Commons and later described as ‘the original proposer of the scheme’, money was made available in May 1798 by the Erasmus Smith Charity in Dublin for the purchase of the library for Trinity. There was a delay in putting this scheme into effect and Fagel determined to sell it by public auction, the sale to start on 1 March 1802. The catalogue of almost 10,000 lots…created a sensation and must have galvanized the Dublin party, for they made a successful bid for the entire library in February. On 6 March the Erasmus Smith Charity released enough funds to cover Fagel’s asking price of 8000 pounds sterling and the cost of transportation.”–Vincent Kinane, “The Fagel Collection” in Trinity College Dublin (ed. by Peter Fox), Dublin, , p. 158–(& see the rest of the article).
This catalogue documents the fact that London, along with Paris, was increasingly considered to be the principal book auction center (Amsterdam had fallen behind. The Dutch heirs of this vast library had it shipped to Christie’s, in spite of the cost.
Very good copy from the library of Prof. T.A. Birrell.
Item ID: 2561