Woman Bibliophile

[ALBERT DE LUYNES, Jeanne-Baptiste d’, comtesse de Verrue]

Catalogue des livres de feue madame la comtesse de Verruë, dont la vente se fera en détail en son hôtel, rue du Cherchemidy.

Ce catalogue se distribue à Paris, chez Gabriel Martin, 1738.

8vo, contemporary full calf, three gilt fillets around sides, gilt spine with raised bands, red morocco lettering piece, red edges. Title with armorial engraved vignette, (2) pp. d’Avis, 240 pp., (81) pp. of manuscript table of authors. Complete.

First and only edition of a landmark auction catalogue of the private library of one of the greatest female collectors of all times.

Rare and desirable copy priced in a contemporary hand and with an added manuscript table.

Jeanne-Baptiste d’Albert de Luynes (1670-1736), countess of Verrue, known as “the Lady of Pleasure”, one of the finest scholars of the eighteenth century, was very famous in her time for her taste for the arts and her remarkable collection of paintings. She is one of the first known women bibliophiles, a passion which was then the prerogative of men. Married to the Comte de Verruë when she was thirteen, her husband presented her to the court of Duke Victor Amadeus of Saxony two years later, and she soon became his mistress. Eventually, she left Turin for Paris. She had everything: high birth, beauty, intelligence, great wit. She assembled in her two houses, one in Paris, rue du Cherche-Midi, the other in Meudon, an immense library of nearly eighteen thousand volumes; an exceptional library, that of an avant-garde woman and a subversive collector: she owned all the « dangerous » books (pro-Protestant, irreligious or licentious, etc.) and “in so doing, she participated in the fight for free thought”. The catalogue offers a wealth of information on commercial practices, rarity criteria, the history of taste, etc.

Binding slightly worn, a very good copy.

Price: 4.000,00 euros