LIBRI, Guglielmo (1803-1869). Catalogue of the extraordinary collection of splendid manuscripts, chiefly upon vellum, in various languages of Europe and the east… London: sold at Auction by Messrs S. Leigh Sotheby & John Wilkinson, 28 March – 5 April, 1859. [With:] – Catalogue of the choicer portion of the magnificent library, formed by M. Guglielmo Libri... London: sold at Auction by Messrs S. Leigh Sotheby & John Wilkinson, 1-15 August, 1859. 2 volumes, 8° (260x 180mm). Introduction to first work in English and French, that to second in English, first work with 37 plates, of which 3 folding, both works ruled in red throughout and annotated with buyers’ names and prices. (Occasional light spotting, mostly confined to plates.) Red cloth (rebacked, corners rubbed). Provenance: Lord Crawford (pencil inscription stating provenance and adding that they were rebacked by:) – John Pearson.
FULLY ANNOTATED AUCTION CATALOGUES FROM THE COLLECTION OF THE BIBLIOKLEPTIC GUGLIELMO LIBRI. Although accusations of book theft against Libri had been made as early as 1842, his friendship with high-level librarians, such as Antonio Panizzi, the keeper of printed books at the British Museum, and other persons in authority meant that he was able to evade justice, despite being sentenced in absentia by a French court to ten years' imprisonment. Sotheby’s held ten sales of Libri’s books between 1849-1865, which elevated the books with extensive introductions, notes and illustrations. Despite all, Libri ‘must be reckoned among the great collectors and manuscript scholars of his century’ (Maccioni and Mostert, The life and times of Guglielmo Libri, 1995, p.302).
[Sold with:] – 7 autograph letters signed to Monsieur Desnoyer, Librarian at the Jardin des Plantes, Paris, 1830s-40s, discussing mutual bibliophile acquaintances and sharing opinions on books, as well as asking for the return of some books lent – which Libri would like to inscribe – and mentioning a possible visit to see the plants; with three envelopes.