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[LUYNES, Guionne Joséphine Élisabeth de Montmorency-Laval, duchesse de].

Notice d'ouvrages, à Monsieur le Duc de Chevreuse, dans son appartement particulier à Dampierre, faite par Madame la Duchesse de Luynes, sa mère.

[Dampierre], circa 1810, - [21st October] 1820

RARE MANUSCRIPT CATALOG WRITTEN BY A WOMAN, BOTH A BIBLIOGRAPHER AND A PRINTER : THE DUCHESSE DE LUYNES, NÉE MONTMORENCY-LAVAL (1755-1830).

THIS CATALOG IS MADE FOR HER SON CHARLES-PAUL DE LUYNES, DUC DE CHEVREUSE (1783-1839).

IT DESCRIBES THE LIBRARY IN HIS PRIVATE APARTEMENT AT THE CHÂTEAU DE DAMPIERRE.

PRECIOUS TESTIMONY ON THE BIBLIOGRAPHIC PRACTICES AND READING CHOICES AT THE AGE OF THE FIRST FRENCH ROMANTIC PERIOD

Small folio (218 x 170mm)
AUTOGRAPH MANUSCRIPT of 95 pages on 140 paginated leaves [1] 1-5pp., 1f., 1-272 pp., calligraphed in brown ink with the columns in pink ink. Each page with headings at the top of the columns : class, book titles, format and number of volumes
COLLATION and CONTENTS : title calligraphed, pp. 1-5 : table of contents, pp. 1-272 : catalog, at p. 133 begins the classification of the bound books which have a special system of codes
CONTEMPORARY BINDING. Bradel in orange paper with title piece on the spine
PROVENANCE : Duc de Luynes at the Château de Dampierre (not at Sotheby’s sales)

This catalog of the books of the Duc de Chevreuse at Dampierre was made by the Duchesse de Luynes his mother. It is autograph in as much as the comparison with two letters of the Duchesse in the collection of the Marquis de Flers sold recently, allows us to confirm it (cf. https://www.ader-paris.fr/lot/20951/4385224).

Guionne Joséphine Élisabeth de Montmorency-Laval (1755-1830), daughter of a Marshal of France, became the Duchesse de Luynes in 1768 through her marriage with Louis-Joseph-Amable d’Albert de Luynes (1748-1807). She entered into the service of Queen Marie-Antoinette as a Lady of the Palace then as Lady of Honor until 1789. A strongly liberal spirit, she participated, for example with her mahogany wheelbarrow, in the preparatory leveling work of the Champs-de-Mars for the Fête de Fédération. She held a literary salon, translated from English and published texts : she was a woman of the Enlightenment. During the violent times of the Revolution, she retired to Dampierre where she threw herself into her passion : books. In 1795 she installed a printing press in her château and began printing works in very small quantities that she sometimes personally put together. About fifteen publications came from these presses and at least five of them can be found in the catalog of her son’s books :

1. The Life and adventures of Robinson Crusoe (Dampierre, 1797 : one copy in this catalog p. 127 ; cf. also Sotheby’s, Luynes sale, April 29, l 2013, n° 67)
2. An account of the life of Swift (Dampierre, 1800 : one copy in this catalog p. 129 ; cf. same sale, n° 68)
3. La Vie de Marie de Hautefort, duchesse de Schomberg (Dampierre, 1799 : one copy at p. 185 of this catalog ; and the same sale, n° 69)
4. Recueil de Prières avant et après la confession, à l’usage d’Albert de Luynes… printed by his mother (Dampierre, 1800 : one copy on p. 7 of this catalog ; and the same sale, n° 71)
5. Recueil de quelques articles tirés de différents ouvrages périodiques (Dampierre, 1799 : one copy at p. 191 of this catalog ; and the same sale, n° 69).

A few years later, Jacques-Charles Brunet would say that their rarity is superior to that of the works published by the private press of the Prince de Ligne in Belœil.

The Duchesse de Luynes suspended her printing activity following decrees taken by Napoléon I on February 5 and November 18, 1810 which, the be all and end all of tyranny, banned private printers. She hence left unfinished her revised French edition of the Spectator by Joseph Addison and Robert Steele. The press at Dampierre ceased printing at that point.

That point also marks an important gap in the writing of this catalog. From its title page, it presents a terminus ad quem of October 21, 1820. At that date, her son Charles Paul Marie d’Albert, Duc de Luynes et de Chevreuse was thirty-seven years old (1783-1839). In 1800 he had married a young lady from Narbonne-Pelet who died in 1813. A woman of little interest, she was no match for her mother-in-law. They had a son, Honoré d’Albert, 8th Duc de Luynes, who would be one of the great personalities of the French 19th century. Her father, Charles Paul, had a sister who, by her marriage, made him the brother-in-law of Mathieu de Montmorency, a great friend of Chateaubriand. Surprisingly, Charles-Paul de Luynes would not bear the title of Duc de Luynes but that of Duc de Chevreuse. In 1814 he was appointed a Peer of France and only appeared in the Almanachs royaux under the name of Chevreuse until his resignation in 1830.

These are indeed books from his “private apartment in Dampierre” from this little personal and private library of which his mother made the catalog. As one could no longer print since the Emperor’s decrees, one might as well catalogue. The activity revolving around the book was therefore just as playful as it was serious.

Guionne de Montmorency-Laval was well trained. Her “notice” follows the classification of Parisian booksellers that was developed in the early 18th century by the famous expert booksellers Gabriel Martin (1679-1761) and Prosper Marchand (1678-1756), and better known as the “system of booksellers of Paris”. There are several works of bibliography in this catalog, including a three volume Dictionnaire bibliographique des livres rares by Duclos and Cailleau, and the sale catalog of the Duc de La Vallière (p. 115). The “divisions and subdivisions” (p. 1) are fragmented in five classes or divisions, as per the bibliographic tradition : Theology, Jurisprudence, Sciences and Art, Belles Lettres, History. Each class subdivides into several sections. the last subdivision appears at the last line of the table (p. 5) : “Pamphlets put in order of subject”. These are books most recently acquired that had not yet been bound. Their dates of publication begin in 1810, so at the point when the printing activity ceased in Dampierre and where the Duchesse began cataloging. A few drops of wax on one of the pages even show that the bibliographic game or the consultation of the catalog must have continued at nightfall on the novels page precisely (p. 143).

Among these books, there are few on theology. Worship is more practical than theoretical. The first line begins with the Pensées by Pascal, a normal thing for a family who was the biggest supporter of the Port-Royal des Champs located a few meters from Dampierre. The Bible de Sacy bound in morocco and the Lettres de Saint Augustin translated by the Abbé du Bois (1697) are a reminder that Jansenism was a well-known affair here. The Génie du Christianisme by the friend of the family and of Mathieu de Montmorency also appears. A few books of hours well neglected by modernity printed on vellum, must be lying around : “Three works, Books of Devotion, on vellum, vignettes etc. in small 4to format, large 8vo and 8vo” (p. 11). Natural history is well provided for (p. 37) with a 4to Buffon and especially with “l’Histoire naturelle des oiseaux (illuminated), Paris, 1784, 8 vol. Fol.”) Hunting appears on p. 43 with a Du Fouilloux at the uncertain date of 1563, a Vénerie royale by Salnove, the Traité de Vénerie by Yauville and a curious “book on hunting bound in cardboard” in “Large 4to” format which leaves the reader of today wanting for more.

There is also a Voltaire by Kehl, the Histoire philosophique et politique des établissements des deux Indes by the Abbé de Raynal, the little Encyclopédie in a 4to format, a considerable quantity of literature and philosophy books in small formats (the Cazin). The “bound” section begins on page 133. There are many noir and/or gothic novels translated from English, like those of Ann Radcliffe (La Vision du château des Pyrénées), the Affinités électives by Goethe, Delphine by Madame de Staël, Fantasmagorania ou recueil d’apparitions (1812) and other works which are so many markers of the first romantism.