by DU BARRY, Madame - [MAIROBERT, Mathieu François Pidansat de (1727-1779)]; UZANNE, Octave (1852-1931), editor
Paris: A. Quantin, 1880. Bound with: LACROIX, Paul (1806-1843). An annotated proof sheet from his Catalogue des Livres de Madame du Barry (Paris: Auguste Fontaine, 1874). Large 8vo (263 x 173 mm).  leaves, XXXII, 288 pp.,  leaf. Color-printed etched plate by and after W. Lalauze, title and justification printed in red and black, line block decorative head-pieces, tail-pieces and initials, opening armorial headpiece by Gaujean after Mongin. unique copy, printed for the editor on blue paper, with an extra proof of the plate in sanguine and before lettering, two extra copies of the half-title and title-leaves, a publisher's broadside Vient de Paraitre announcement on green paper, and a heavily marked up page-proof of the preface to Paul Lacroix's edition of Madame du Barry's library catalogue. Last quire partly unopened. Contemporary half blue morocco by E. Carayon, preserving original illustrated wrappers, top edge gilt, others untrimmed. Provenance: Octave Uzanne, the editor, with his signed justification and bookplate dated 1882.***The exemplaire de tête of Uzanne's bibliophile edition of the scandal-mongering journalist Pidansat de Mairobert's biography of Louis XV's mistress (1st edition 1775), Uzanne's own copy, a unique impression on blue paper, with several extra additions. This unnumbered copy is extra to the 100 numbered copies called for in the printed justification on the verso of the half-title. It bears Uzanne's signed manuscript note "[Exemplaire] unique sur un papier bleu d'eau - tirage special pour la collection du publicateur [sic] Octave Uzanne".Besides the extra proof of the plate, and the bright green oblong broadside publisher's advertisement, bound in at front, the most interesting of the truffages of this copy is a heavily revised folio proof sheet of the bibliographer Paul Lacroix's preface to his own annotated edition of Madame du Barry's 1771 manuscript library catalogue. The preface contains a detailed factual account of the creation of Madame du Barry's library. On the sheet, tipped in to the front flyleaf and folded, the small proof pages are mounted on a larger sheet which is covered by extensive manuscript insertions and corrections in Lacroix's tiny script, continuing onto the verso. A bookseller's description of the piece is mounted on the same flyleaf. Madame Jeanne Bécu, Comtesse du Barry (1743-93), a courtesan who became Louis XV's chief mistress after the death of Madame de Pompadour, and whose life ended tragically under the guillotine, remains one of the emblematic figures of Ancien Régime decadence, for the fortunes the King lavished upon her, in spite of her lack of education and obliviousness to culture and politics, which contrasted vividly with her predecessor. As Lacroix notes in one of the manuscript additions to this proof sheet, it was emulation of the intellectual Madame de Pompadour and her reading library of over 3500 books, that inspired the barely literate du Barry to create her own library - or, rather, to commission its creation, out of whole cloth, by a hardworking, unnamed bookseller. The prolific bibliographer and book historian Paul Lacroix (1806-1884) published under various pseudonyms, most often that of "le Bibliophile Jacob." His corrections and additions on this proof sheet (signed P.L. Jacob, bibliophile) represent an intermediate stage between the primitive version of the printed proof and that of the published edition. There are several variants in word choice, and details such as the itemized costs of the unnamed bookseller differ slightly. The long passage in the lower right portion of the sheet, describing the bookseller's precautionary catalogue (which listed the costs of the books and of their bindings), which accompanied the collection but was kept secret, is itself full of crossings out and additions, and varies in several places from the published text. Finally, a few of the published details, notably concerning additions to Madame Du Barry's library made after the death of Louis XV, and Revolutionary depredations, were added after this manuscript was written. Cf. Tourneux, Bibliographie de l'Histoire de Paris pendant la Révolution, 267-268; Quentin-Bauchart, Les Femmes bibliophiles de France, 183-215.
(Inventory #: 2750)
Continental printed books and manuscripts; Renaissance and Baroque literature; Incunables; Illustrated books
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