The James de Rothschild Bequest at Waddeson Manor: Printed Books and Bookbinding

Two Volume Set

Giles Barber

The James de Rothschild Bequest at Waddeson Manor: Printed Books and Bookbinding

Giles Barber

Distributed for Paul Holberton Publishing

1,162 pages | 8 3/4 x 11 3/4
Cloth $450.00 ISBN: 9780954731083 Will Publish May 2020 For sale in North America only
2 Volume Set The outstanding collection of late 17th- and 18th-century books, together with their sumptuous bindings, built up by Baron Ferdinand de Rothschild in the last 20 years of the 19th century, match his other extraordinary collections (covered by earlier catalogues in the series), and is among the best of its kind outside Paris. This catalogue reveals for the first time the riches of his book collection. The 790 books reflect Baron Ferdinand’s interests as a refined connoisseur and amateur historian. Not interested in first editions or rare texts, he collected instead books with a distinguished provenance, those with magnificent bindings and ones illustrated by celebrated artists. Many of these also related to his interest in the history of this period, documenting social culture, costume, travel, architecture and, in particular, royal entertainment and ceremonies. Among coats-of-arms are those of Louis XIV, Louis XV, Madame de Pompadour and Marie-Antoinette. The magnificent bindings are by renowned artisans working at the pinnacle of their craft: Padeloup, the Derome family and Le Monnier, who are known for lavish dentelle and mosaic styles. The two volumes provide introductory surveys of the collecting of ancient régime books, of Baron Ferdinand’s life, historical interests and manner of book collecting (using important and unpublished trade documentation), an overview of the collection by subjects, a more detailed description of the illustrated books, and another of the wide range of royal, bibliophile and other important provenance. Seven substantial chapters describe and discuss the late 17th- and 18th-century Parisian bookbinding trade and techniques of decorative gilding. They include particular studies on the work and production of leading bookbinders. The evolution of the various styles of the period are discussed, including the bindings of the Cabinet du Roi, and lists are provided of all the examples in the collection, before a final section of bookbinders’ ‘signing’ of their work, and lists of English and other book bindings at Waddesdon. Of special important is the classified index of French bookbinders’ tools, some 1000 of those on the Waddesdon books being reproduced digitally, thus providing an authoritative reference files on the best French bookbinding of this period. All 790 books are described in full detail, with title page transcriptions, collations, lists of plates, details of provenance, descriptions of bindings, and notes on the importance of the works involved. A provenance index lists all identified past owners, with brief biographical notes on them. There is also a select bibliography.
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