SOUBISE, Charles de Rohan, Prince de (1715-1787) – Catalogue des livres, imprimés et manuscrits, de la bibliothèque de feu Monseigneur le Prince de Soubise, Maréchal de France. Paris: Charles-Guillaume Leclerc, 1788. 8° (198 x 124mm). Woodcut vignette on title. (A few brown spots or ink spots, generally only occasionally light spotting.) Contemporary calf-backed drab boards, spine lavishly decorated gilt in compartments, red morocco letter-piece (rubbed, a few chips). Provenance: unidentified stamp on title.
Occasional annotations or underlining in manuscript. Soubise, the favourite of Louis XV and Mme de Pompadour, made up for being one of the worst field commanders in French history by being one of the best French book collectors of his time. His defeat at Rossbach by Frederick the Great in 1757 became legend, still commented upon by Napoleon half a century later. He was fortunate in being the nephew and heir of a passionate book collector, Cardinal Armand de Rohan-Soubise (1674-1749), whose library included the Bibliotheca Thuana which the Cardinal had acquired from Charron de Menars. To it, the Marshal added ‘an enormous quantity of works remarkable for their interest, rarity and value’ (Olivier, I. 2034). His collection includes books from virtually every important library which came to sale: ‘c'était une frénésie avec lui’ (Guigard). He owned 12 Grolier bindings. The nearly 8,300 lots of the catalogue often comprise several listed works, but these can be traced through the detailed alphabetical index. Comte d'Artois, the future king Charles X, was the principal buyer at the sale; these books are now at the Arsenal. Blogie II, col. 17; Graesse II, p.73; Horne, p.728; North 338; Olivier XX, p.2034; Peignot, p.125; Taylor, pp.226 and 263.