The Library of the late Jean Albert Gondrexon
1906 - 1985
Jean Albert Gondrexon was born in Brussels on 15th January, 1906. His background was cosmopolitan for his mother was Dutch, and his father a French architect and publisher whose buildings included the railway station at Antwerp. Jean Gondrexon pursued the publishing profession, founding his own publishing house, Le Bon Plaisir, in Paris in 1927 and living in Paris at the rue de Belle Chasse until 1939. He made a speciality of publishing finely-illustrated books by contemporary French authors. Another branch of the company was located at The Hague where Gondrexon himself lived and worked from 1939 to 1962. From 1962 to 1982 he lived on his estate at Remmerstein, near Rhenen. The last two months of his life were spent at Amerongen Castle, where he died on 24th February 1985, bequeathing the library to his stepson, Harry Eichhorn de Gondrexon.
The covers to the present sale catalogue show Jean Gondrexon's library in the library room at Amerongen, where it has remained up to the time of the present sale. Many of the French authors and illustrators represented were known to Gondrexon personally through his publishing activities, as the inscriptions from André Gide, Jacques de Lacretelle, Paul Eluard, Valéry Larbaud and others testifies. But it seems fair to say that his interest in English literature probably grew increasingly strong during his years on the estate at Remmerstein, eventually coming to dominate the collection.
The literary sets, whether in leather or cloth, are distinguished by their fine outward appearance and internal cleanness of paper. In addition, the library contains a notable collection of modern first editions in English by authors who include E. M. Forster, Graham Greene, Robert Graves, Aldous Huxley, Katherine Mansfield, Evelyn Waugh and Virginia Woolf, reflecting Gondrexon's interest in Bloomsbury and other groups. The collection as a whole demonstrates that he had an eye for quality that was remarkably keen.
I. Collected Works
ADDISON, Joseph. The Miscellaneous Works in verse and prose. With some account of the life and writings of the author by Mr. Tickell, London: for R. and J. Tonson, 1765, 4 volumes, 8°, engraved frontispiece to volume I and II, 2 engraved plates in volume II, volume III with 21 woodcut plates of medals, contemporary mottled calf, spine compartments with repeated floral ornaments and green morocco lettering-pieces (spines a little worn at head, corners rubbed). With Milton's Works (8 vols., London, 1851) edited by John Mitford, and the works of Smollet (8 vols., London, 1872) and Sterne (4 vols, London, 1873) edited by James P. Browne, in various contemporary calf bindings. (24)