“FRENCHMEN! I AM STILL YOUR EMPEROR”: FIRST EDITION OF CLARKE’S ILLUSTRATED HISTORY OF THE WARS, 1816, A SPLENDID ACCOUNT OF THE NAPOLEONIC WARS IN HANDSOME TREE CALF
(NAPOLEON) CLARKE, Hewson. History of the War From the Commencement of the French Revolution to the Present Time. London: T. Kinnersley, 1816. Three volumes bound in two. Thick quarto, contemporary full brown tree calf, elaborately gilt-decorated spines, marbled endpapers. $3000.
First edition of this illustrated history of the Napoleonic campaigns that swept across empires from 1792-1816, featuring 40 engraved plates, along with a full-page hand-colored map and large engraved folding plate of the “Battle of Waterloo,” richly bound in contemporary tree calf gilt.
With the clash of empires that followed the French Revolution, and campaigns led by Napoleon Bonaparte spanning three decades, the world saw the rise of a flamboyant leader who soon became "'Emperor' in this fullest sense" (Encyclopaedia Britannica). This first edition of the lavishly illustrated History of the Wars tells the saga of the Napoleonic wars and features an additional History of the War, &c at the rear of Volume II, extending into the 1816 British wars on the Barbary Coast. Altogether these offer a rare contemporary record of Napoleon's role in wars that ultimately involved Europe, Great Britain, Russia, India, the Americas and North Africa, ending with Napoleon's defeat at Waterloo and imprisonment on St. Helena—which he met with the defiant "Frenchmen! I am still your emperor" (II:I:362). Featured within are an engraved frontispiece and additional title page (Vol. I), along with 38 engraved plates, including portraits of Napoleon, the Duke of Wellington, Talleyrand and Lord Nelson, and the dramatic "Death of Murat." These handsome volumes also contain a full-page hand-colored map and an impressive folding plate of the Battle of Waterloo. First edition of Clarke's expanded revision of his 1815 history An Impartial History of the Naval, Military and Political Events in Europe. Volume I without plate of "Bonaparte attempting to force the bridge of Arcola" and "Portrait of the Emperor Alexander of Russia"; with title page of Volume II bound at the head of this copy's second volume.
Light scattered foxing, several plates with expertly repaired margin tears not affecting image, some leaves with minor margin dampstaining. Joints and corners expertly repaired. A splendid set in handsome tree calf.