21 March 2005
BOZERIAN, Jean-Claude (bookbinder). Manuscript bill to Emperor Napoleon I for binding two copies of a 4o edition of Ossian, headed Note des Relieures faites par Bozerian pour Sa M.j.té L'Empereur; certified, signed and dated by Bozérian, from Paris, 8 ventose an 13 [26th February 1805], docketed by an imperial secretary the following day.
One page, 4o (223 x 171 mm), on a median half sheet (3 pp. blank) of blue-tinted watermarked paper, deckle edges on three sides. Preserved in a modern cloth portfolio.
James Macpherson's "Ossianic" poems from the Gaelic were all the rage in late-18th-century Europe and greatly inspired the romantic movement. Dr. Johnson denounced their authenticity, but Goethe was a profound admirer and Melchior Cesarotti's Italian translation was one of Napoleon's favorite books. Most editions were published in 12o or 8o; it seems therefore likely that the 4o issue of which Bozérian bound two copies for the Emperor was printed on large paper. Both bindings were expensive, elaborately decorated and with embroidered silk doublures. One was in citron morocco with the emperor's arms, the other in purple morocco without coat-of-arms. Jean-Claude Bozérian and his younger brother, François Bozérian, were the leading binders of the First Empire, and both worked for Napoleon. The elder Bozérian won the bookbinding medal of the Paris 1801 exhibition, and was a busy publisher and bookseller as well. See R. Devauchelle, La reliure en France II (1960), 113-119; and P. Culot, Jean-Claude Bozérian (Speeckaert, 1979). The bookbinder's bill is IN PERFECT CONDITION.
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