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    Sale 7590

    Valuable Manuscripts and Printed Books

    4 June 2008, London, King Street

  • Lot 308

    MONTESQUIEU, Charles de Secondat, baron de (1689-1755). Le Temple de Gnide. Nouvelle édition, avec figures gravées par N. le Mire ... d'après les dessins de Ch. Eisen. Paris: Le Mire, 1772.

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    MONTESQUIEU, Charles de Secondat, baron de (1689-1755). Le Temple de Gnide. Nouvelle édition, avec figures gravées par N. le Mire ... d'après les dessins de Ch. Eisen. Paris: Le Mire, 1772.

    8° (219 x 140mm). All engraved text by Droüet. Engraved frontispiece with medallion portrait of the author, engraved title, engraved headpiece to the dedication to George III and 9 plates after Eisen by Le Mire. (Inscription erased from title, some marginal spotting and soiling.) Contemporary crimson red morocco, covers with arms of Charlotte of Mecklenburg-Strelitz, Queen Consort of George III, ensigned with the royal crown of England [Davenport p. 110] and with 'dentelle à l'oiseau' border by Derome le Jeune with his large bird tool at corners, flat spine in compartments with morocco lettering-piece and repeated fleuron, blue watered silk doublures, gilt edges (joints and corners a trifle rubbed).

    FINELY-BOUND COPY BY DEROME WITH ARMS OF QUEEN CHARLOTTE, THE DEDICATEE. Eisen's exquisite plates depict idyllic scenes from Montesquieu's pseudo-Greek prose pastoral, the example above showing Venus with Cupid in her temple at Gnidos. Charlotte of Mecklenburg (1744-1818) married George III on 8 September 1761 and gave birth to fifteen children over the next twenty-three years. She was an avid reader. The dispersal of her library, numbering over 4000 volumes, to pay debts after her death is described as 'a bibliographical tragedy' by her biographer (O. Hedley, Queen Charlotte, 1975, p. 304). Brunet III, 1860; Cohen/de Ricci 726: 'estampes d'une exécution ravissante, comme composition et comme gravure'; Ray, French, 32: 'With regard to suavity and grace Eisen never surpassed these plates'; Tchemerzine VIII, 455(a).


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