22 - 23 March 2005
ASKEW, Anthony (1722-1772) -- Bibliotheca Askeviana. Sive Catalogus Librorum rarissimorum Antonii Askew, M.D. London: S. Baker & G. Leigh, February 1775. -- Bibliotheca Askeviana manuscripta. Sive Catalogus Librorum Manuscriptorum Antonii Askew, M.D. London: G. Leigh & J. Sotheby, March 1785.
Two volumes in one, 8o. (Minor marginal browning in first volume.) 19th-century quarter morocco, first volume partially uncut. Provenance: PRICED AND ANNOTATED by a French bookseller in a contemporary hand (possibly Guillaume Debure, see below).
In the preface to the first catalogue, Askew's library is described as "the best, rarest and most valuable Collection of Greek and Latin Books that were ever sold in England." De Ricci describes Askew's achievements in the medical field being "quite eclipsed by his proficiency as a classical scholar." He attemped to acquire a complete series of all the Greek classics ever published, and privately purchased the Greek manuscripts of R. Mead. "His sale...was a great success and was attended by the Paris bookseller Debure, who bought for the Duc de La Vallière and other French collectors" (De Ricci). Askew's book auction included a significant number of books printed on vellum; his manuscripts were sold a decade later.
This copy of the 1775 catalogue is particularly interesting in that it was used at the sale by a French bookseller, who priced and annotated it in French throughout. The annotations often include brief criticisms of Askew's copy of a particular book, and on others seem to indicate levels at which he would bid. It is quite compelling to accept that these annotations may have been supplied by Debure himself, since beside some of the books are the initials "D" or "val", which may indicate these were examined or purchased for Debure's principal client, the Duc de la Vallière. De Ricci, pp. 52-53; Munby & Coral, pp. 73 and 83.
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