The French illustrated book of the 18th century

Commenced with the acquisition of the legendary library of Andre Langlois (died 1964), followed by two others and augmented through the acquisition of single masterpieces in the last two decades, a unique collection started to take shape that today consists of 2800 works in roughly 4000 to 4500 volumes. 

 

 The main feature of this extraordinary collection is the pristine condition of the works, the most beautiful bindings, the best paper quality and the finest copperplate prints; where possible augmented by prints "avant la lettre" or even the pure etchings. 

It seems evident that these and other features made them part of some of the most important collections of the last two centuries. Their provenance is one of the key elements that the comprehensive description and illustration of the works focuses on. For the most part they came from large private libraries in England and France, particularly remarquable are those of A.-A. Renouard, Robert Stayner Hohlform, H. de La Bédoyère, La Roche Lacarelle, Lignerolles, Leboeuf de Montgermont, Eugène Paillet, Louis Roederer, Edouard Rahir, Henri Beraldi, R. Descamps-Scrive, Louis Giraud-Badin, Louis Cartier, Mortimer Schiff, Raphael Esmerian, Comtesse de Neil, Henri Bonnasse, A. Portal.

 

In addition, the complete series or at least some characteristic original preparatory drawings are added to over 130 works of the collection, among them Watteau, François Boucher (4 wash drawings on parchment for the Molière of 1734), Honoré Fragonard (8 wash drawings for the Lafontaine of 1795), Moreau le Jeune (originals for Amor &Psyche of 1795 etc.), Gravelot (all of the wash drawings for theVoltaire, Corneille, Lucretius, Tassoni and many more), Eisen, Cochin (125 originals for Lafontaines Fabeln), Le Barbier (all 148 originals for Gessner 1787-96, unpublished wash drawings for the Télémarque), Marillier, Lefèvre, Regnault (19 large wash drawings for the Temple de Gnide), single leaves by von Oudry, Prud'hon, Le Prince and others.

 

More than 80 exemplars are printed on vellum. Beautiful bindings are represented through the works of A.-M. Padeloup, Le Monnier, Douceur, Vente, Derôme père and Derôme le Jeune (c. 240 bindings), Bozérian aîné and jeune (c. 250 bindings), Tessier, Bradel, Bisiaux, Lefèvre, Simier, Thouvenin, Courteval, Mairet, Purgold, Bauzonnet, Hering, Müller, Doll, Vogel, Koehler, Trautz, Cuzin, Marius Michel etc. etc. 

 

This collection might very well be an apotheosis of the French 15th century - dressed in magnificent bindings and beautiful pages illustrated by some of the finest book artists of the time.