7 June 2006
CHAMPOLLION, Jean-François (1792-1832). Lettres à M. le Duc de Blacas d'Aulps, relatives au Musée Royal Égyptien de Turin. Seconde Lettre. [Première Lettre.] Paris: Firmin Didot père et fils, 1824-1826.
2 works in one volume, 8° (238 x 145mm). 3 engraved plates in the second work. (Scatttered spotting, marginal dampstain in first few leaves.) 19th-century red quarter calf, original printed front wrappers bound-in, flat spine ruled and lettered in gilt. Provenance: Jean-François Champollion (inscription 'souvenir d'amitié de l'auteur' in black ink on front wrapper of first bound work, to:) -- 'Mr. [Costanzo] Gazzera' -- ?ACV (cipher blocked in gilt on spine-foot).
FIRST EDITION, PRESENTATION COPY from the author to Costanzo Gazzera. Gazzera was Champollion's closest assistant in the extensive examination of the famous collection on which these two works report. Gazzera, known locally as Champollion's aide-de-camp during this period, was a philologist, professor of philosophy and librarian at the University of Turin, and secretary of the Academy of Sciences in Turin. Champollion often confided in Gazzera over the course of many long hours working together in the gallery (Faure, p. 479). Champollion worked hurriedly to finish the Première Lettre as Gazzera was already busy publishing a memoir on the same subject and Champollion feared, needlessly, finding in it some of his own ideas. Gazzera proved a valuable ally in Champollion's frequent clashes with Giulio Codero San Quintino, the belligerent museum director. A number of plates were published separately to accompany the Seconde Lettre. Brunet I, 1780; Faure, Champollion. Le savant déchiffré, 2004.
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