21 March 2005
BÜNAU, Graf Heinrich von (1697-1762) -- Johann Michael FRANCKE (1717-75). Catalogus Bibliothecae Bunavianae. Leipzig: Bernard Christoph Breitkopf for the widow of Caspar Fritsch, 1750-56.
4o (237 x 181 mm), 3 parts in 7 volumes. Printed in double columns. Engraved and woodcut vignettes. (Some browning.) Contemporary German half sheep, gold-tooled spines including owner's emblem of a lion's head with a ring in its mouth, marbled paper covers, red edges. Provenance: Augsburg Provincial Library (19th-century stamps).
COMPLETE SET OF ALL THAT WAS PUBLISHED of the best German private-library catalogue of the Aufklärung. Bünau, a Saxon statesman who was created an Imperial Count by Charles VII, formed his vast library of upwards of forty-thousand volumes to aid his studies in German history; his Teutsche Kayser- und Reichs-Historie (1728-43) may be considered one of the foundation stones of modern German historiography. The great art historian Johann Joachim Winckelmann was Count Bünau's librarian from 1748 to 1754 and is likely to have had a hand in the cataloguing. After Bünau's death Francke became librarian of the Electoral Library in Dresden, which had purchased the Bibliotheca Bunaviana en-bloc in 1762.
Although the catalogue remained unfinished, it is a model of its kind. Ebert called it an "unsurpassed masterpiece" and Bogeng "the best catalogue of a German 18th-century private library." It takes a prominent place in the Bibliotheca Bibliographica Breslaueriana, not least on account of the long and important section of bibliography and catalogues in vol. 1. RARE in good and complete condition. Breslauer and Folter 104; Taylor p. 234.
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