16 June 2015
ABRANTÈS, Laure Junot, Duchess of (1784-1838). Mémoires ou souvenirs historiques sur Napoléon, la Révolution, le Directoire, le Consulat, l’Empire et la Restauration. Paris: Ladvocat et al., 1831-1835.
18 volumes, 8 º (200 x 126mm). (Occasional spotting.) Contemporary green half morocco, sides ruled in gilt, spines richly gilt in compartments, the central compartments with the Hertford crest of a crowned phoenix rising from an earl’s coronet, marbled edges (spines faded). Provenance: Richard Seymour-Conway, 4th Marquess of Hertford (1800-1872; binding).
SCARCE FIRST EDITION AND A FINE COMPLETE SET WITH ALL 18 VOLUMES PUBLISHED OVER A PERIOD OF SIX YEARS BY THREE SUCCESSIVE PUBLISHERS.
These colourful memoirs were sometimes attributed in part to the young Balzac who was then the lover of the Duchess of Abrantès. As enjoyable as they are to read, the reliability of her memoirs is questionable: Théophile Gautier nicknamed the author ‘la duchesse d'Abracadabrantès’; the mot d'esprit enjoyed as much success as the book. This set was handsomely bound for Richard Seymour-Conway, Marquess of Hertford, who assembled a remarkable collection of Napoleonica.
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