22 May 2001
Property from the Estate of William John Upjohn
ROUGET DE LISLE, Claude Joseph (1760-1836). [La Marseillaise]. Marche des Marseillois. Chantée sur diferans Theatres. Chez Frere Passage du Saumon. London: William Holland, 10 November 1792.
2o broadside (406 x 246 mm). Hand-colored engraved head-piece of soldiers marching and singing by Richard Newton. Six stanzas set with musical notation. Preceded by one page manuscript description written in red and black. Bound in red morocco gilt, by Sangorski & Sutcliffe. Provenance: Belmont Abbey (so designated on manuscript desciption leaf); unnamed consignor, Sotheby's New York, 21 June 1976, lot 138.
First edition in English, SCARCE. Rouget de Lisle was a captain of the engineers and amateur musician. After France declared war on Austria on 20 April 1792, P.F. Dietrich, the mayor of Strasbourg (where Rouget de Lisle was then quartered), expressed the need for a marching song for the French troops. "La Marseillaise" was Rouget de Lisle's response to this call. He composed it during the night of 24 April 1792, and it was accepted as the French national anthem by the Convention on 14 July 1795. "La Marseillaise" subsequently was banned for its revolutionary content by Napoleon I, Louis XVIII and Napoleon III. It was reinstated permanently as the national anthem in 1879.
The manuscript description preceding the broadside outlines its scarcity: "The present broadsheet is the earliest edition known to have been printed in England. It is probably unique, no mention of it being made in Eitner, Barclay Squire, Hirsch or Fétis. It was found in the library of Belmont Abbey, Hereford." Only the British Museum copy is recorded by the British Union-Catalogue, vol.1, p.22. See Fuld, p.354.
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