Source of Mozart's inspiration

BEAUMARCHAIS (Pierre-Augustin Caron de) Collection of four plays: [1] Les deux amis, ou le négociant de Lyon, drame en cinq actes en prose, représenté pour la première fois sur le théâtre de la Comédie Française à Paris, le 13 janvier 1770. [2] Eugénie, drame en cinq actes en prose, avec un Essai sur le drame sérieux. [3] Le Barbier de Séville, ou la précaution inutile, comédie en quatre actes, représentée & tombée sur le Théâtre de la Comédie Française aux Tuileries, le 23 de février 1775. Quatrième édition. [4] La folle journée, ou le mariage de Figaro, comédie en cinq actes en prose.

[1] Paris, chez la Veuve Duchesne & Merlin, 1770. [2] Paris, de l’Imprimerie de Clousier, et chez la Veuve Duchesne, 1782. [3] Paris, de l’Imprimerie de Clousier, chez la Veuve Duchesne, 1782. [4] [Kehl], de l’Imprimerie de la Société Littéraire Typographique, et se trouve à Paris, chez Ruault, 1785.

Four plays bound in one volume, 8vo, old fawn calf, smooth spine with gilt fillets and ochre lettering piece, untrimmed. [Deux amis] IV pp. (including title), 163 pp. ; [Eugénie] half-title and title, XLIV pp., 2 unnumbered leaves, 116 pp. ; [Barbier] 132 pp. (including half-title and title); [Figaro] LI pp. (including half-title and title), 1 unnumbered leaf, 199 pp., 1 unnumbered errata leaf, 5 plates by Jacques de Saint-Quentin (1738-1785?), engraved par Halbou, Liénard and Lingée. Complete.

Fine sammelband of the author’s famous plays, including Figaro in the rare edition published by Beaumarchais at his Kehl press, using the Baskerville typeface. In this second edition, published in the same year as the first Paris Ruault edition, the designs by Saint-Quentin are newly engraved and Malapeau’s earlier inferior engravings discarded. Rosine in the fifth plate now has her modesty restored. Ray notes that Beaumarchais made this edition “virtually an acting text through his long note on the characters and costumes of the play and his stage directions”. Although composed between 1778 and 1781, as a sequel to his Barbier de Séville, Beaumarchais’s great comedy was censored due to the strong political overtones and not performed until 1784. It proved to be hugely popular with Mozart’s operatic version, Le Nozze di Figaro, composed and first performed in 1786, giving the comedy a lasting audience. Figaro is preceded here by the First Edition of Deux Amis, and a new edition of Eugénie (first published 1767) and the Barbier de Séville (edition published the same year as the first).

Unidentified bookplate.

A quire age-toned in the Barbier. A very pleasing copy.

Ref. Cohen-Ricci, Guide de l’amateur de livres à gravures du XVIIIe siècle, 125-126 (Figaro) / Cordier, Bibliographie des oeuvres de Beaumarchais, 8 (Eugénie), 28 (Deux amis), 56 (Barbier), 129 (Figaro) / En français dans le texte, Paris, BnF, (1989), 178  / Le Petit, Bibliographie des principales éditions originales d’écrivains français du XVe au XVIIIe siècle, pp. 367-370 / Rahir, Bibliothèque de l’amateur, p. 312 / Ray, The Art of the French Illustrated Book, 68 (Figaro) / Tchemerzine, Bibliographie d’éditions originales et rares d’auteurs français, II, pp. 6-17

Price: 3.000,00 euros

Get in touch
← Back to the highlights