21 March 2005
NAPOLEON I, Emperor of the French (1769-1821) -- MARTIN BOSSANGE (1766-1865). A catalogue of the library of the late Emperor Napoleon, which were [sic] removed from the Island of St. Helena, by order of His Majesty's Government, and which were purchased by Martin Bossange, and Co. Foreign Booksellers. London: G. Schulze for Bossange and Co., 1823.
8o (209 x 129 mm). 6 leaves. (Title and last page slightly soiled.) Red straight-grained morocco gilt binding, roll-tooled border on sides, lettered "The Library from St. Helena" on front cover, flat spine gilt, turn-ins roll-tooled, blue silk liners.
After Napoleon's death on St. Helena, a large portion of his last library was divided by the executors among heirs and friends. The remainder was removed from St. Helena by order of the British Government and sold to the important French bookseller in London, Martin Bossange. The catalogue offers 228 unpriced books, many in multiple volumes, including an imperfect set of Description de L'Egypte, "several plates having been cut out by Napoleon." That splendid book and all others that did not sell (almost half) were quickly consigned by Bossange to Sotheby's (see the next lot). The entries printed in italics contain autograph notes by the emperor. On verso of the title Bossange advertises the first two volumes of Napoleon's memoirs as dictated to Montholon and Gourgaud, adding that "A Portion of the MS. corrected by Napoleon may be seen at the Publishers."
THIS CATALOGUE IS OF THE GREATEST RARITY. The origin and date of the binding are uncertain, even if its style is early-19th-century French.
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