21 March 2005
IMPRIMERIE ROYALE -- LAURENS DE REYRAC, François-Philippe de (abbé de Reyrac). Hymne au Soleil. Paris: Imprimerie Royale, 1783.
8o (198 x 120 mm). Collation uncertain: 2 leaves (note on the new press, title), 49 pages (text). Printed on wove paper. ORIGINAL PRESENTATION BINDING: gold-tooled red morocco, triple fillet on sides, the arms of the Imprimerie Royale in the center, longitudinal lettering on spine: EPREUVE DE LA NOUVELLE PRESSE DE L'IMPR. ROYALE, two floral rolls on turn-ins, blue silk liners, gilt edges. Modern cloth box. Provenance: the recipient of this handsomely bound work of publicity, presumably presented by the director of the Royal Press, is not identified.
The notice preceding the title reads: Première épreuvre d'une nouvelle presse inventée pour le service de l'Imprimerie Royale: et approuvée par l'Académie des Sciences le 17 Mai 1783; it goes on to claim that the press differs in all its parts from ordinary presses, is more productive and easier to operate. The press is still preserved at the Imprimerie Nationale. Etienne-Alexandre-Jacques Anisson-Duperron was appointed director of the Imprimerie Royale in 1783. One of his first acts was to produce this little book as a demonstration of his new press, the invention of which was claimed, however, by Didot l'Aîné.
At least two other copies in identical presentation bindings are recorded: the Major McLaughlin copy (Monaco sale, 7 Oct. 1980, lot 1769) and a copy offered by Librairie Valette in 1996. BBB Wittockiana 18; BBB Harvard 19. Not in Bigmore and Wyman.
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