LIMITED EDITION OF THIS CATALOGUE OF THE BOOKS IN MADAME DU BARRY’S LIBRARY, ONE OF ONLY 100 COPIES PRINTED
(DU BARRY, Jeanne Becu, Comtesse) JACOB, P.L. Catalogue des Livres de Madame du Barry avec le Prix a Versailles, 1771. Reproduction du Catalogue Manuscrit Original avec des Notes et une Préface. Paris: Auguste Fontaine, 1874. Small octavo, contemporary three-quarter teal morocco, raised bands, marbled boards and endpapers, top edges gilt. $850.
Limited edition, one of 100 copies printed, of this catalogue of Madame du Barry’s library reproduced from the original manuscript catalogue by bibliophile P.L. Jacob, handsomely bound.
As the mistress of Louis XV, Comtesse du Barry acquired, despite her low birth, both political power and wealth. Resented for the influence she had gained, one polemic published against her called her “this barrel of infection; this drain of iniquity” (Schama, 800). She “retired” at the death of Louis XV, but was later arrested at Robespierre’s command and guillotined in 1793 for allegedly acting to undermine the new government. Though, during her life, the Comtesse was known largely for her aristocratic airs and extravagant dress, she also possessed natural intelligence and a curious mind. The careful creation of a library was one of the Comtesse’s great accomplishments. She filled it with books covering all areas of learning, from poetry to military history to African exploration. This catalogue offers insight into the contemporary interests of the educated French as well as into the life of the Comtesse herself. This copy is lettered “D.” out of 100 numbered copies. Text in French.
Slight rubbing and toning to extremities. A handsome, near-fine copy.