LENOIR, Jean-Charles-Pierre (1732-1807). “Précis historique des conquêtes de l’Empereur de la Chine Kien-Long.” Manuscript on paper. [Paris?]: Monsieur Le Noir Conseiller d'Etat, Président des Comités des Finances et Bibliothécaire du Roi. [1784?].
4° (289 x 225 mm). MANUSCRIPT ON PAPER. Elaborately drawn title-page and 73 pages in a neat calligraphic hand, written on rectos and versos, ruled in red throughout. Contemporary red morocco armorial binding: elaborate gilt rolled borders with corner harp ornaments at angles and centrally stamped arms of Lenoir on both covers, gilt pointelle board edges and elaborately gilt turn-ins, smooth spine gilt with horizontal rolls, pointelle borders in spine compartments with foliate ornaments at angles and dots and harp ornaments within, green morocco title label, edges gilt, blue silk endpapers (some scuffing, minor wear to extremities). Provenance: Jean-Charles-Pierre Lenoir (binding).
Manuscript meant to accompany the suite of 16 copper engraved plates of scenes from the Emperor Qianlong's military campaign against the Dsungars of Eastern Turkistan: Chun-ko-erh Hui-pu teng chu te sheng tu, published in Paris: 1769-1774 (see lot 236, a reprint by Isadore Helman). This set of plates was the first of several series of historical views commemorating Qianlong's military career, and the only one executed in Paris. The present manuscript, drawn up at least nine years later, gives captions and historical background for each plate, preceded by 48 pages of historical background.
Jean Charles Pierre Lenoir was born on 10 December 1732 in Paris.His family had made its fortune under Louis XIV in the silk trade, then moved into the Paris robe. His father was a lieutenant particulier in the Châtelet. Lenoir studied at the Collège Louis-le-Grand and the Faculty of Law of the University of Paris. He then became a traditional servant of the king. Like other senior administrators, he believed in enlightened despotism following the rational and reformist principles of the Encyclopédistes.
Lenoir entered the Châtelet and was promoted through the three grades. He was appointed adviser to the Châtelet in 1752, became a special lieutenant in 1754 and criminal lieutenant in 1759. In 1765 he was appointed maître des requêtes. He served in Rennes on the royal commission that investigated the Chalotais affair. He implemented the Maupeou reforms in Aix-en-Provence. When Louis XVI came to the throne Lenoir succeeded Anne Robert Jacques Turgot as intendent at Limoges.
The title-page of this manuscript prepared for him was drawn in imitation of an engraving, shows a “Tableau de différentes parties de l’administration de Monsieur Le Noir…” and is signed “Royllet fecit.” This is probably Sebastien Royllet (1700-1767), a contemporary writing-master who published several works on penmanship, including “Les nouveaux principes de l'art d'ecrire” (1768-1775), and “Les fideles tableaux de l'art d'ecrire” (ca.1767).
The manuscript dates from after 1783. The latest date cited in the manuscript,”30 8bre, 1783” cited in a footnote on page 20.