MORTIMER, Ruth. Harvard College Library Department of Printing and Graphic Arts Catalogue of Books and Manuscripts. Part I: French 16th Century Books.

Cambridge (Mass.), The Belknap Press of Harvard Uni. Press, 1964.


Folio. 2 vols: xvii, 358 p.; 359-728 p.. With half-titles, title-pages and numerous facsimiles of original woodcut illustrations. In original slipcase. Publisher’s buckram. Black labels to spines with gilt letterings. A fine copy.

CAESAR, Caius Julius

CAESAR, Caius Julius [Hirtius, A.]: (Coustellier, A.U., Ed.) C. Jullii Ceasari quae extant opera. Commentariorum de bello gallico, libri septem

Paris, Typis Josephi Barbou, 1755.


12mo, 2 vols. Vol. 1: frontispiece, 2 leaves without signature (half-title and title), pp. xxvii, 360, plus 2 fold-out maps; vol. 2: 2 leaves without signature (half-title and title), pp. 455 (1), 2 fold-out maps, plus a final leaf with publisher’s catalogue. Fine crisp volumes bound in burgundy morocco, with elaborately gilt-tooled foliated designs stamped in gilt on spines and covers, gilt dentelles, labels in green morocco (slight loss to head of spine in vol. 2, light stain towards tail, blue silk endpapers, a.e.g. A lovely binding. Ownership medallions of James Hartmann glued on the recto of first front fly leaves of both volumes. Hartmann was a C19th English book collector, especially of French editions; then this work entered in the Silke Montague collection, as shown by stamps found above the Hartmann bookplates.

Barbou’s elegant edition of Caesar’s commentaries, with supplements by his general Aulus Hirtius. This was part of a library of the classics prepared for this publisher by A.U. Coustellier; the catalogue as of 1755 is found at the end of the second volume here. For the aid of the book-collector, a list of editions of Caesar, from the first, Rome, 1469 (now Goff C16) onwards, is added to the works.


[Natural History] Description de l’Égypte


Historie Naturalle, vols. 3, 1826, (Description de l’Égypte ou Recueil des observations et des recherches qui ont été faites en Égypte pendant l’expedition de l’armée française).

Paris, Imprimerie de C. L. F. Panckoucke, 1821–29.


Elephant folio (67×52 cm). 3 tomes in 3 volumes (no. 34, 35 and 36) from the monumental description of Egypt promoted by Napoleone Bonaparte during the French Campaign of Egypt (1798–1801). Plates (244 + 3 title pages): Zoology: Vol. I: Mammals (8); birds (14); Reptiles (13); Fish (27). Vol. II: Cephalopods (1); Gastropods (3); Shells (14); Annelids (5); Crustaceans (13); Arachnids (9); Myriapods (1); Orthoptera (7); Neuroptera (3); hymenoptera (20); Echinoderms (9); Zoophytes (3); Ascidians (1); Polyps (14); Algae (2). Vol. III: Botany (62); Mineralogy (15). In contemporary half red morocco binding. Title to blind tooled gilt spine, divided in 7 compartments with raised bands. Large green morocco labels at centre of front board with gilt title. Magnificent copies of the first monumental natural history of Egypt.

This Natural History in three parts belongs to the second edition of the description of Egypt, which was printed by Charles-Louis-Fleury Panckoucke in 24 8vo volumes divided in 26 books, plus 10 volumes (no. 27-37) including beautiful plates illustrating the Egyptian Antiquités, in 4 tomes, État Moderne, in 2 vols, the Histoire Naturelle, in 3 vols, and the Atlas géographique, in 1 vol.. The first edition was printed between 1809 and 1822 at the Imprimerie Royale and it was the first scientific description of Ancient and Modern Egypt. This monumental enterprise represented a milestone in the history of French governmental printing. It was coordinated by the Institut d’Égypte, established by Bonparte at Cairo and chaired by Gaspard Monge. Fourier, who wrote the introduction, in 1798 was instructed to gather the reports concerning the multiple disciplines involved. The work was the result of the collaboration of many scientists, artists and technicians who voluntarily followed Bonaparte in this incredible adventure. After the capitulation of the army under General Menou, the scientists, artists and scholars returned to France. For fear of seeing scientists publish their work individually, the government quickly created an eight-member Egyptian Commission to carry out this “great work”. The publication began in 1810; Napoleon wanted it to begin in 1809 to celebrate his first decade in power, and hence the title pages of the first volumes were backdated. The work was completed only in 1830, when the maps of Sinai, Egypt, and Palestine were finally taken out of the Dépôt de la Guerre, which, for security reasons, had so far kept under seal. Famous naturalists and illustrators contributed, such as Jacques Barraband, Pierre-Joseph Redoute, Geoffroy Saint-Hilaire and Jules-César Savigny. The quantity and accuracy of the information provided surpassed any work published before the expedition. The monuments were measured and described with remarkable precision. Even inscriptions whose mystery had not yet been understood were reproduced with great fidelity.

CASTIGLIONE, Baldassare (CHAPPUYS, Gabriel)

CASTIGLIONE, Baldassare (CHAPPUYS, Gabriel, Tr.). Le parfait courtisan

Paris, Par Nicolas Bonfons, 1585.


8vo, ã8 ê8 a-z A-V8, pp. (xxxii) 678 (=658) (xxx). Double column, French in Roman letter, Italian in Italic. Printer’s device on title page with motto: “proba me deus et scito cor meum” (Psalm 138:23). C19th ms. note on title page “Monneraye / Monneraye / bon garçon”, with name “Monneraye” appearing occasionally throughout the book on margins. Paper evenly yellowed because of aging, occasional small wormholes to outer and lower blank margin, no loss to text. Some light dampstaining and spotting, edges of initial leaves slightly worn. Rebound in modern vellum with yapp edges.

This is an early French translation of this greatly renowned work of Baldassare Castiglione (1478-1529). Castiglione was an Italian courtier, diplomat, soldier and a prominent Renaissance author. He was born at Mantua, where he served the Gonzaga family, then moved to Urbino in the service of its duke, Guidolbaldo da Montefeltro. In 1506 he was in England to receive the Order of the Garter for his master from Henry VII. In 1524 he went to Spain as papal envoy; he died there in 1529, universally mourned. Finished in 1518, the book sets forth in a series of dialogues the author’s conception of the ideal courtier and the norms of courtesy in a cultured society. Kendall Tarte has shed light on the influence of this work on the French culture of the time in relation to another similar work, especially with regard to the role of women: “La Puce de Madame des-Roches offers a complex portrait of one woman. The book’s fictionalized accounts of Catherine’s body, her expressions of virtue, and her participation in salon activities help the modern reader imagine the Poitiers community of the late sixteenth century. The poets of that group engage with contemporary codes of conduct in their renderings of the salon interactions. Portraits of Catherine Des Roches reflect an idealized view of women, and in her poems Des Roches adopts a stance suggested by such guidelines. A consideration of contemporary conduct books will illuminate the ideas that set the tone of interactions between sexes. Of particular importance are contemporary works that deal with codes of conversation between men and women, and that discuss specifically the question of the speech of women. Two Italian texts, Baldassare Castiglioni’s Libro del Cortegiano, or The Book of the Courtier, and Stefano Guazzo’s Civil Conversatione, provide guidelines for women in polite society. First published in Italian in 1528, Il Cortegiano was enormously influential throughout Europe. The first French translation, by Jacques Colin, appeared in 1537 at King François I’s request. Another translation, Gabriel Chappuy’s 1585 bilingual edition, testifies to the book’s popularity throughout the sixteenth century. Castiglione’s directives for the conduct of the courtier and his lady-in-waiting apply to the parallel situation of sixteenth-century humanist salons. Despite the obvious class difference, the Poitiers group resembles the Italian court in its makeup – both consist primarily of men – and its social practices, which place special emphasis on speech.” Kendall B. Tarte, Writing Places: Sixteenth-century City Culture and the Des Roches Salon, 2007.

 BM STC Fr. C16th p. 94 

GUYBERT, Alexandre


GUYBERT, Alexandre. Traicte familier pour toiser, mesurer et exactement calculler toute maçonnerie…

 Paris, Chez Charles Massé, 1580.


FIRST EDITION. 8vo, ff. 72, A-I8. Roman letter, sporadic Italic. Printer’s device on title page (a pyramid and motto “stans penetro”), floriated initials, headpieces and several numeric diagrams and calculations. Leaf edges browned and somewhat worn, dampstaining to foot of pages throughout. C19th autograph of “…Duchasseint” on front pastedown. In deliciously aged contemporary limp vellum with intact laces. A good copy of this very practical and handy masonry manual.

First edition of this handbook including computational methods in order to achieve exact measurement and proportions in masonry, geometry, architecture and building practices in general. These rules are applicable also to “turcies et levées” (dams and weirs). The Ancien régime’s Service des turcies et levées was a French organisation aimed to build, oversee and carry out maintenance on the numerous dams of the Loire and its canals, which helped regulating the stream of the river during exceptional rains, preventing flooding, and, above all, made navigation and trade via water possible across southern France. The sixteenth-century religious and civil wars disrupted this service putting at stake the safety of the population dwelling in the Loire valley. In order to settle this issue, in 1573 King Charles IX introduced the election of a local commissioner. The majors of Orléans, Bois, Tours and Amboise had to name three suitable candidates for each city, so that the King could then choose one among the twelve selected competitors. King Henry III changed this system and appointed this task to the General of Finances, based in Orléans, assisted by two commissioners from this city. However, the French Department of Finances soon absorbed the role of the General and usurped the power of the local commissioners elected by the citizens of Orléans. This usurpation required the intervention of the King in 1588. The author of the present work defines himself as “King’s counsellor” and “Eleu” of Orléans, that is, the person elected in the provincial election to become a general Assessors of Subsidies, such as “aides and tailles”, meaning “state grants and land taxes”.

Extremely rare. We could only trace about ten copies: nine in Europe and just one in the US. No copy in the British Library.

USTC 30305

MÉRARD DE SAINT-JUST, Anne-Jeanne-Félicité

MÉRARD DE SAINT-JUST, Anne-Jeanne-Félicité (or Anne D’Ormoy). La Corbeille de Fleurs (démence de madame Panor, en son nom Razadelle Saint-Ophelle, suivie d’un conte de fées, d’un fragment d’Antiquès, d’une anecdote villageoise et de quelques couplets).

Paris, F. A. Didot “l’ainé”, [1796].


Contemporary dark red straight-grained morocco, covers with single gilt rule border, gilt central panel with inverted corners, smooth sine in six compartments, gilt lettered in one, a repeated gilt pattern of circlets and dots in the other, board edges and turn-ins gilt, light blue watered silk linings, silk doublures with gilt vine border and roundel cornerpiece ornaments, g.e., joints cracked, slight rubbing, front free endpaper loose, PRINTED ON VELLUM, PROBABLY ONE OF TWO COPIES extra to the LIMITED EDITION of 25 copies on papier vélin.

Brunet III, 1643; Van Praet, Velins bibl. publ. II, 537 (recording two copies on vellum, one owned by the bookseller M. Chardin).

DEROME, Nicolas-Denis, called Le Jeune, binder. BOILEAU-DESPRÉAUX, Nicolas




Paris, Didot l’ainé, 1781.

12mo (134x176mm), pp. [ii] 180, 192. Two vols. in one, contemporary blue-black morocco gilt, covers with border of small leaf, double fillet and fleurs-de-lys rool tools, smooth spine divided into six compartments, gilt-lettered in one, a repeated gilt panel of small tools in the rest, broad edges and turn-ins gilt with circles, small flowers and other rolls, pink silk linings and page markers, a.e.g., by Derome le Jeune, with his ticket, slight wear to upper corners and headcap, modern half morocco chemise and morocco-edged slipcase, half-titles, ornamental woodcut head- and tailpiece decorations.


1) Mortimer L. Schiff, bookplate (sale, Sotheby’s, 5 July 1938, lot 660)
2) P. Desq, bookplate.

Seymour de Ricco, French Bindings in the Mortimer L. Schiff Collection (New York and Paris 1935), I. 58. (PL)