SAXE (Count Maurice of)Mes Rêveries. Ouvrage posthume, augmenté d’une histoire abrégée de sa vie et de ses différentes pièces qui y ont rapport, par Monsieur l’Abbé Pérau.

À Amsterdam et à Leipzig, chez Arkstée et Merkus. Et se trouve à Paris, chez Desaint et Saillant, Durand, 1757.

2 volumes 4to, bound by Hering & Muller circa 1830, full blond polished calf, three gilt fillets around sides, small gilt flower in corners, sines with 5 raised bands, gilt floral ornament in compartments, gilt fillets, red lettering pieces, bookbinder’s mark at foot of spine (of first volume), top edges gilt, inner gilt dentelle, marbled paper doublure and endpapers. (10) pp., CXXXIV pp., (2) pp., 159 pp., 58 plates numbered I-LVIII; (4) pp., 259 pp., 26 plates numbered I-XXVI. Fine woodcut head- and tailpieces by Papillon. Complete. Together, 84 fine plates engraved by various artists under the direction of Pierre Patte, of which 32 folding and 81 delicately coloured by a contemporary hand. The plates feature foot and mounted soldiers and arms, regimental flags, fortifications, and plans of formations. Our copy has two added engraved portraits of the Maréchal de Saxe and a view of the Fontenoy battle (at the beginning of the first volume).

Second Edition, the first based of the author’s original manuscript, preceded by a one-volume edition the previous year with only 40 plates.

The best edition of one of the great military treatises published in the eighteenth century and the author’s only published work.

Observing that the art of war is a science with no certainties or absolutes, Maurice de Saxe (1696-1750), one of the world’s most famous soldiers, divides his book into two parts, the first examining the raising, feeding, clothing, exercising, paying, encamping, and moving of an army and its various parts, and the second covering the sublime or strategic aspects of combat, including attack and defence in various terrains, how to interpret the signs of enemy plans, etc. Of noble birth, headstrong and given to excess, Saxe served in the military from the age of 12 in various wars, including under Peter the Great against the Swedes. He gained international fame by his surprise capture of Prague in 1741 during the War of Austrian Succession, for which he was made Marshall of France. He was given independent command in the Netherlands, and his several successes there were due in large part to his strategy and leadership, and this despite being carried about, as dropsy made it impossible for him to sit on horseback.

Engraved armorial bookplate of French aristocrat Count Henry Jules Charles Emmanuel Greffulhe (1848-1932) whose important library was partly sold at the Galerie Charpentier in Paris in 1937. From an early age, he frequented Parisian high society. In 1878, he married Élisabeth de Caraman-Chimay (1860-1952), heir to a European princely family. She was one of the most prominent women in Paris and represented the elegance of the Belle Époque. Marcel Proust was inspired by the couple to create the characters of the Duke and Duchess of Guermantes in his famous novel “A la Recherche du temps perdu”.

Hinges a bit weak, else a very good copy with coloured plates and interesting provenance, bound by Hering & Muller. Frédéric-Guillaume Muller, after having been a partner of J. Hering around 1830, bought in 1834 the studio of master bookbinder Joseph Thouvenin, who had just died and of whom he had been a pupil

Ref. Brunet, V, 174 / Cohen-Ricci, 942-943 (erroneous collation) / Graesse, VI, 286

Price: 4.000,00 euros.


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