CURIOSA – [ANDREA DE NERCIAT, André-Robert (1739-1800).] Les Aphrodites ou Fragmens thali-priapiques, pour servir a l'histoire du plaisir. 'A Lampsaque: 1793'.
8 parts in one volume, 8º (191 x 115mm). Each part complete with the half-title and title, and with the errata leaf in part 4, and with the final two leaves of postscript. 8 engraved plates by Freudenberger. Full citron morocco by Trautz-Bauzonnet, matching leather doublures with an erotic border of scrolling foliate tools in gilt and incorporating pudenda composed of pink leather onlays, devil’s head corner tools, spine with raised bands and lettered directly in gilt, edges marbled and gilt; morocco slipcase, spine lettered in gilt and with a capital ‘H’ above a miniscule ‘y’ in gilt at the foot (two light stains on spine). Provenance: Frederick Hankey (1833-1883; binding).
THE EXCEEDINGLY RARE FIRST EDITION OF THIS MASTERPIECE OF 18TH CENTURY LIBERTINE LITERATURE: THE FAMOUS HANKEY COPY, COMPLETE WITH ALL ENGRAVINGS BY FREUDEBERG, AND IN AN INLAID BINDING WITH EROTIC DECORATIONS.
Les Aphrodites is Andréa de Nerciat’s masterpiece and the prototypical libertine novel; Hubert Juin described it as ‘decidedly the most diabolically well-tuned erotic machine that could be conceived’.
The eight exquisite engraved plates by Freudeberg (1745-1801) are of the highest quality, and complete suites are distinctly rare. Even in the 19th century the only complete copy known to Cohen-DeRicci was this one.
The Fredrick Hankey copy bound for him by Trautz-Bauzonnet with an erotic inlaid decoration on doublures.
A retired British soldier, Frederick Hankey (1823-1882) settled in Paris from 1840. He indulged his passion for erotic literature and built one of the great collections in the field. The Goncourts described him as ‘a monster, one of those men who live on the edge of the abyss’ – high praise, in this instance.
Cohen-DeRicci 750; Portalis, Les Dessinateurs d'Illustrations au XVIIIe siècle, I, p.230: Freudenberger, named by abbreviation Freudeberg, was born in Bern, Switzerland, in 1745. He died in 1801; Soultrait 18th century 109.