Rare Book Monthly

Book Catalogue Reviews - February - 2022 Issue

81 Precious Books from Librairie Clavreuil and Stéphane Clavreuil Rare Books

81 precious books.

Librairie Clavreuil of Paris, along with Stephane Clavreuil Rare Books of London, have combined to create a spectacular catalogue, 81 Livres Précieux (81 Precious Books). It features “Incunables, Sciences, Voyages, Littérature, Gastronomie 1473-1955.” That requires no translation for English speakers. However, the entire catalogue is in French, which is a challenge to those whose fluency is that of a “C” French student in high school many, many years ago. Do not expect much detail, or guaranteed accuracy from this review.

 

The family's involvement in the book trade goes back 120 years to the original Librairie Clavreuil in Paris. It was managed by Lucien Scheler, who later took over the shop and it became known as Librairie Thomas-Scheler. However, it was repurchased for the family by Bernard Clavreuil after working in the store for several years, and the original name was later restored. Meanwhile, Bernard Clavreuil's son, Stéphane, opened up the business in London.

 

By way of that introduction, we can explain why the Clavreuils chose to have 81 books in this catalogue. It's because the catalogue is a year late. It was originally planned to celebrate Bernard's 80th birthday. Unfortunately, nothing went as wished last year and all sorts of projects had to be delayed. So now it has finally arrived, a year behind schedule. The positive is the catalogue now has a bonus book, one more than the original 80.

 

Due to the language issues, I will keep it brief, in hopes that will still be sufficient to appreciate the importance of the material herein. Those who do speak French will find lengthy, very detailed descriptions along with numerous pictures of the material offered.

 

You won't need to know French to understand item 14. In fact, it won't do you any good. It is a polyglot bible in four languages, none of which is French. Nor is there any English. The languages are Latin, Greek, Hebrew and Aramaic. With that combination, you might have guessed it's a bible. This is the Complutense Bible published from 1514-1517. It was the project of Cardinal Jiminez de Cisneros. He undertook the project to celebrate the birth of Charles V. Cardinal Cisneros was not trying to make the bible accessible to speakers of these various tongues but because he thought that if it were available in multiple languages, multilingual scholars having difficulty understanding a passage could look to another language in which the intent might be more clear. The bible's odd name derives from its being published at Complutense University in Alcala, Spain.

 

Item 70 will be especially appealing to Americans as it is about America's Indians at a time when to a large degree they still lived a traditional lifestyle, like the days before Europeans arrived. This is Indian Tribes of North America with Biographical Sketches and Anecdotes of the Principal Chiefs, published 1836-1844. The authors were Thomas McKenny and James Hall. McKenny was appointed Superintendent of Indian Trade in 1816 and in 1824 became the first Director of the Office of Indian Affairs. He visited the frontiers and was involved in inviting many chiefs to Washington. In a time when many Americans looked down on the Indians and considered them to be “savages,” McKenny had a deep respect for the country's natives. He said, “the Indian was, in his intellectual and moral structure, our equal.” McKenney was dismissed from office by President Jackson, not noted for being a friend of the Indian, but that gave him an opportunity to undertake this great project with James Hall. He brought in illustrators to create the images displayed on the 120 hand-colored plates in the book. McKenny hoped that by illustrating the great leaders and others of the tribes along with scenes of how they lived, he could preserve their way of life for future generations to see, as he realized the vast western migration would soon overwhelm the traditional customs. The original portraits went to the Smithsonian but most were destroyed in a fire, leaving the book as the sole source by which the portraits of these leaders were preserved.

 

Next is one of the greatest travel books in its first French edition, Sensuyt le Nouveau Monde et Navigations, published 1517-1523. This was Antonio Fracanzano da Montalboddo's collection of some of the earliest voyages to explore the world. The New World was truly new when it was first published, Columbus' discovery of America only a decade and a half ago at the time. It covers voyages to the West by Columbus and Amerigo Vespucci, and also voyages of discovery to the East, notably that of Vasco da Gama. Europeans knew little of these far off lands then, this book being credited with disseminating information of the New to the Old World for the first time. The book contains first-hand accounts, including Columbus' letters.

 

Here is a book that ties France and America together as do few others. America was still a young nation in 1831, trying out its new form of government – democracy. That is when Alexis de Toqueville came from France to America, to study the prison system in this country. However, his travels led him to a much wider critique of the American system. While not without its shortcomings, he viewed American democracy, and the liberties it brought, favorably. Europe was still ruled by kings and tyrants, with individual liberties limited, wealth held by established families, and little opportunity for the common people to join the wealthier classes. America was different in the opportunities it afforded. Item 69 is the first edition of Toqueville's Democracy in America, or in French, De la Démocratie en Amérique, published 1835-1840.

 

Librairie Clavreuil in Paris may be reached at +33 (0)1 43 26 97 69 or basane@librairieclavreuil.com. Stephane Clavreuil Rare Books in London may be reached at +44 798 325 2200 or stephane@clavreuil.co.uk.

Rare Book Monthly

  • Potter & Potter Auctions
    How History Unfolds on Paper:
    Choice Selections from the Eric C. Caren Collection
    Part IX
    Starting 10AM CST
    April 18, 2024
    Potter & Potter, Apr. 18: [RUTH, George Herman “Babe” (1895-1948)]. Signed photograph. Circa 1930s. 191 x 248 mm. $1,500 to $2,500.
    Potter & Potter, Apr. 18: HARRISON, Benjamin. Document signed (“Benj Harrison”) as governor of Virginia, certifying the service of Daniel Cumbo, a Black Revolutionary soldier. $6,000 to $9,000.
    Potter & Potter, Apr. 18: ONE OF THE FIRST PRINTED ANNOUNCEMENTS OF THE DECLARATION OF INDEPENDENCE. $4,000 to $6,000.
    Potter & Potter Auctions
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    Choice Selections from the Eric C. Caren Collection
    Part IX
    Starting 10AM CST
    April 18, 2024
    Potter & Potter, Apr. 18: FIRST PRINTING OF LINCOLN’S IMMORTAL GETTYSBURG ADDRESS. $4,000 to $6,000.
    Potter & Potter, Apr. 18: HIGHLY IMPORTANT MORMON ARCHIVE. ALLEY, George. Archive of 23 Autograph Letters Signed by Mormon Convert George Alley to His Brother Joseph Alley. $10,000 to $20,000.
    Potter & Potter, Apr. 18: [AVIATION]. [ARMSTRONG, Neil A.] Aviation Hall of Fame Gold Medal MS64 NGC, Awarded to Neil Armstrong in 1979. $2,000 to $3,000.
    Potter & Potter Auctions
    How History Unfolds on Paper:
    Choice Selections from the Eric C. Caren Collection
    Part IX
    Starting 10AM CST
    April 18, 2024
    Potter & Potter, Apr. 18: NEWLY DISCOVERED FIRST PRINTING OF "WITH MALICE TOWARDS NONE... " FROM THE ONLY NEWSPAPER ACTUALLY ALLOWED TO PARTICIPATE IN LINCOLN’S SECOND INAUGURAL PROCESSION. $4,000 to $8,000.
    Potter & Potter, Apr. 18: THE MOST IMPORTANT GEORGE WASHINGTON DOCUMENT IN PRIVATE HANDS; GEORGE WASHINGTON’S COMMISSION AS COMMANDER IN CHIEF, 1775, ONE OF ONLY TWO ORIGINALS. $150,000 to $250,000.
    Potter & Potter, Apr. 18: A VERY RARE ACCOUNT OF BLACKBEARD’S DEATH AND ONE OF THE MOST IMPORTANT PIRATE ITEMS EXTANT. $3,000 to $5,000.
    Potter & Potter Auctions
    How History Unfolds on Paper:
    Choice Selections from the Eric C. Caren Collection
    Part IX
    Starting 10AM CST
    April 18, 2024
    Potter & Potter, Apr. 18: EDISON, Thomas. Patent for Edison’s Improvements on the Electric-Light, No. 219,628. [Washington, D.C.: U.S. Patent Office], 16 September 1879. $2,000 to $3,000.
    Potter & Potter, Apr. 18: [VIETNAM WAR]. The original pen used by Secretary of State William P. Rogers to sign the Vietnam Peace Agreement, Paris, 27 January 1973. $10,000 to $15,000.
    Potter & Potter, Apr. 18: SONS OF LIBERTY FOUNDER COLONEL BARRÉ ANNOTATED TITLE-PAGE, “WHICH OUGHT TO ROUSE UP BRITISH ATTENTION”. $4,000 to $6,000.
  • Sotheby’s
    Modern First Editions
    Available for Immediate Purchase
    Sotheby’s, Available Now: Winston Churchill. The Second World War. Set of First-Edition Volumes. 6,000 USD
    Sotheby’s, Available Now: A.A. Milne, Ernest H. Shepard. A Collection of The Pooh Books. Set of First-Editions. 18,600 USD
    Sotheby’s, Available Now: Salvador Dalí, Lewis Carroll. Alice's Adventures in Wonderland. Finely Bound and Signed Limited Edition. 15,000 USD
    Sotheby’s
    Modern First Editions
    Available for Immediate Purchase
    Sotheby’s, Available Now: Ian Fleming. Live and Let Die. First Edition. 9,500 USD
    Sotheby’s, Available Now: J.K. Rowling. Harry Potter Series. Finely Bound First Printing Set of Complete Series. 5,650 USD
    Sotheby’s, Available Now: Ernest Hemingway. A Farewell to Arms. First Edition, First Printing. 4,200 USD
  • Jeschke Jadi
    Auction 151
    Saturday, April 27, 2024
    Jeschke Jádi, Apr. 27: Lot 546. Christoph Jacob Trew. Plantae selectae, 1750-1773.
    Jeschke Jádi, Apr. 27: Lot 70. Thomas Murner. Die Narren beschwerung. 1558.
    Jeschke Jádi, Apr. 27: Lot 621. Michael Bernhard Valentini. Museum Museorum, 1714.
    Jeschke Jadi
    Auction 151
    Saturday, April 27, 2024
    Jeschke Jádi, Apr. 27: Lot 545. Sander Reichenbachia. Orchids illustrated and described, 1888-1894.
    Jeschke Jádi, Apr. 27: Lot 1018. Marinetti, Boccioni, Pratella Futurism - Comprehensive collection of 35 Futurist manifestos, some of them exceptionally rare. 1909-1933.
    Jeschke Jádi, Apr. 27: Lot 634. August Johann Rösel von Rosenhof. 3 Original Drawings, around 1740.
    Jeschke Jadi
    Auction 151
    Saturday, April 27, 2024
    Jeschke Jádi, Apr. 27: Lot 671. Jacob / Picasso. Chronique des Temps, 1956.
    Jeschke Jádi, Apr. 27: Lot 1260. Mary Webb. Sarn. 1948. Lucie Weill Art Deco Binding.
    Jeschke Jádi, Apr. 27: Lot 508. Felix Bonfils. 108 large-format photographs of Syria and Palestine.
    Jeschke Jadi
    Auction 151
    Saturday, April 27, 2024
    Jeschke Jádi, Apr. 27: Lot 967. Dante Aligheri and Salvador Dali. Divina Commedia, 1963.
    Jeschke Jádi, Apr. 27: Lot 1316. Tolouse-Lautrec. Dessinateur. Duhayon binding, 1948.
    Jeschke Jádi, Apr. 27: Lot 1303. Regards sur Paris. Braque, Picasso, Masson, 1962.
  • Fonsie Mealy’s
    Rare Book & Collectors Sale
    24th April 2024
    Fonsie Mealy, Apr. 24: McCarthy (Cormac). Cities of the Plain, N.Y., 1998, First Edn., signed on hf. title; together with Uncorrected Proof and Uncorrected Advance Reading Copies, both signed by the Author. €800 to €1,000.
    Fonsie Mealy, Apr. 24: Stanihurst (Richard). De Rebus in Hibernia Gestis, Libri Quattuor, sm. 4to Antwerp (Christi. Plantium) 1584. First Edn. €525 to €750.
    Fonsie Mealy, Apr. 24: Fleischer (Nat.) Jack Dempsey The Idol of Fistiana, An Intimate Narrative, N.Y., 1929, First Edn. Signed on f.e.p. by Rocky Marciano. €400 to €600.
    Fonsie Mealy’s
    Rare Book & Collectors Sale
    24th April 2024
    Fonsie Mealy, Apr. 24: Smith - Classical Atlas, Lond., 1820. Bound with, Smiths New General Atlas .. Principal Empires, Kingdoms, & States throughout the World, Lond. 1822. €350 to €500.
    Fonsie Mealy, Apr. 24: Rare Auction Catalogues – 1856: Bindon Blood, of Ennis, Co. Clare: Sotheby & Wilkinson. €320 to €450.
    Fonsie Mealy, Apr. 24: [Mavor (Wm.)] A General Collection of Voyages and Travels from the Discovery of America to the Commencement of the Nineteenth Century, 28 vols. (complete) Lond., 1810. €300 to €400.
    Fonsie Mealy’s
    Rare Book & Collectors Sale
    24th April 2024
    Fonsie Mealy, Apr. 24: Mc Carthy (Cormac). Outer Dark, N.Y. (Random House)1968, Signed by Mc Carthy. €250 to €300.
    Fonsie Mealy, Apr. 24: Three signed works by Ted Huges - Wodwo, 1967; Crow from the Life and Songs of the Crow, 1970; and Tales from Ovid, 1997. €200 to €300.
    Fonsie Mealy, Apr. 24: The Garden. An Illustrated Weekly Journal of Horticulture in all its Branches, 7 vols. lg. 4to Lond. 1877-1880. With 127 colored plates. €200 to €300.
    Fonsie Mealy’s
    Rare Book & Collectors Sale
    24th April 2024
    Fonsie Mealy, Apr. 24: Procter (Richard A.) Saturn and its System: Containing Discussions of The Motion (Real and Apparent)…, Lond. 1865. First Edn. €160 to €220.
    Fonsie Mealy, Apr. 24: [Ashe] St. George, Lord Bishop of Clogher, A Sermon Preached to the Protestants of Ireland, now in London,... Oct. 23, 1712, London 1712. Second Edn. €130 to €180.

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