Galerie de Portraits de Personnages Celebres [wrapper title]
by NAPOLEONICA -
Paris: Osterwald l'ainé, 1816. 16mo (135 x 96 mm). Two livraisons (all published): 1) 4 pp.,  stipple-engraved plates, a few signed by Bosselman, one after Coeuré. 2)  leaf,  plates. Light foxing to first text page. On guards. Original blue printed wrappers, edges untrimmed, preserved in late 19th or early 20th-century straight-grained dark blue morocco gilt, edges untrimmed (spine sunned). Provenance: Antoine Bordes, bookplate; Sidney G. Reilly, Napoleonica collector, bookplate (sale, New York, American Art Association, 4 May 1921, lot 830).***Only edition. A quirky little royalist publication, containing 16 stipple-engraved portraits of Napoleon and his family, ranging from small to tiny, as well as Louis XVI and his family, and, in the second part, the reigning King, Louis XVIII, the former Empress Marie-Luise, the Duchesse d'Angouleme (Marie-Antoinette's daughter), Lucien Bonaparte (brother of Napoleon), and Prince Eugène (Napoeleon's adopted son). The introduction explains the seemingly odd juxtaposition of Emperor and Royalty, as a way of highlighting their respective historical and moral significance: for example, while Louis XVI and Napoleon both lost the throne, the one was "victim of his own goodness" while the other was "a plaything of his own madness" (un jouet de sa fureur), one was stingy with French blood, while the other expended it freely; finally each represent a link in the chain of being, one to the angels, the other to the demons... Mystifyingly, two of the portraits in the second half were engraved in miniature, on a regular plate. The contents page describes them as "tres-petits" and leaves it at that.OCLC lists copies at the British Library, UNC Chapel Hill and the Univ. of Washington. The entry for the American copies cites 17 plates, but our copy contains all of the plates called for in the introduction to part 1 and the table of contents to part 2.
(Inventory #: 2756)
Continental printed books and manuscripts; Renaissance and Baroque literature; Incunables; Illustrated books
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