1785 · Paris
Catalogue of the posthumous sale of the very important library, "universal in scope" according to the Preface, belonging to J.-B.-P. d'Aguesseau, who had inherited the vast collection(s) of books and MSS acquired by his father, Henri Francois d'Aguesseau (1668-1751), Chancellor of France, and a man of real connoisseurship and wealth. The sale took place at the Hotel d'Aguesseau; 57 days were required to disperse the 5,583 lots. Many of the 16th-century books and early MSS came from the library of the poet Florent Chrestien (1541-1596), and his son Claude. At the end of the catalogue (p. 366) appears the note that large [undescribed] portions of the library were to be sold en bloc or individually.
Noteworthy is the inclusion of incunabula printed on vellum (e.g. lot 2942, the Florentine "Epigrammatum Graecorum" printed by Laurentius Francisci de Alopa, 1494, now in the John Rylands Library), and rare and valuable manuscripts, interspersed throughout every class of books. Although untraced by the editors of the Schoenberg Database, persons interested in provenance are well advised to consult the Aguesseau catalogue with care. See for instance lot 3679, the Orose "Histoire ancienne jusqu'a Cesar," now Morgan Library MS 212-213; lot 3164, an illuminated (and untraced?) "Pelerinage de la vie humaine"; and lot 4126, a superb early fifteenth-century Livy Sammelband in French, adorned with 44 miniatures, now Bibliotheque publique et universitaire de Geneve.
The Index, included in the present copy, lists the names of authors, some titles, and even the names of certain printers (e.g. Henri Estienne). Some copies that lack the Index contain an announcement (1 f.) that an Index would be published after the sale. Because our copy contains said Index, the original owner would have had no need of such a leaf, nor of the 12-page Ordre des Vacations (likewise absent from the copies at the Grolier Club, Bibl. Sainte-Geneviève, Institut de France, BYU, etc.).
North, Grolier Club, no. 318. Brunet, Bibliologie Catholique, col. 405. (Inventory #: 2402)