22 - 23 March 2005
BELLEW, Christopher D. (1763-1826) -- "A Catalogue of Books in the Library of Christopher D. Bellew Esq. Mount Bellew. Only 15 Copies have been Printed" [Text of the label on the original front wrapper]. Galway: printed by Geo. Conolly High Street, 1813.
Narrow large 2o (363 x 218 mm). Original boards (rebound, with original boards laid down); cloth folding case.
ONE OF ONLY 15 COPIES. The first of two privately printed catalogues, following each other within a short distance of time, but very different in style and content, of Christopher Bellew's library at his mansion on Mount Bellew, in a remote part of Western Ireland, and printed by a local printer. The catalogue includes a feature unique in the catalogues of private collections, with the possible exception of the Mérard de Saint-Just catalogue, 1783: the cost of every book is stated, here in a special column. The other columns are for: author and title of book, in alphabetical order, printing place, date. A comparison of the two catalogues (see the following lot) shows that Bellew had discarded quite a number of books in 1814 which had appeared in the 1813 catalogue, replacing them with other books. The rediscovery "of the fabulous board-and-label library" in 1933 by the Dublin bookseller MacManus caused a sensation and "was surely one of the peak moments on the history of modern book-collecting" according to Michael Sadleir XIX Century Fiction.
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