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Justin Croft Antiquarian Books Ltd

Mémoire explicatif des phénomènes de l'aiguille aimantée

Mémoire explicatif des phénomènes de l’aiguille aimantée, pour faire suite à la Question de Longitude sur mer au moyen d’une sphère-pendule par Demonville.

DEMONVILLE, Antoine Louis Guénard. First separate edition, also issued simultaneously as a suite to the author's Question de longitude sur mer (1833), but here issued alone with its own title-page and errata leaf forming a wrapper. The final 4 leaves are adverts for the author's controversial mechanical planispheres, one of which is illustrated in the very large folding plate. Demonville had been a printer (and the son of a printer to the Académie française) but diversified as a maker of globes scientific instruments after losing his licence to print in Paris. In the year of publication, he acquired notoriety as an astronomical crank who denied the astronomy of Copernicus, Galileo, Newton, Halley and Herschel. His planispehere demonstrates his alternative system: the earth, the sun and the moon are the only astronomical bodies; the earth does not rotate (it merely nods a little over the course of a year); the moon is 250 leagues from the earth and the sun, just 1500; the stars are affixed to the crystalline sphere; and the planets have no corporeal existence. Demonville hawked his system (with both books and his instruments) around Paris and London, even obtaining an audience with William III, who asked the Royal Society for their opinion. With his longitude pamphlets he sought to obtain prizes from the Societies of Paris and London but ideas were roundly dismissed, and Demonville pilloried in the press. [1], 46-92, [4] (adverts), plus 2 lithograph charts, one very large (700 × 540 mm) on two sheets and folding. First few leaves somewhat browned. Uncut and partly unopened in original printed wrapper. A very good copy. [Both issues rare.]
Catalogue d'une très riche mais peu nombreuse collection de livres provenant de la bibliothèque de feu M. le Comte J.-N.-A. de Fortsas

Catalogue d’une très riche mais peu nombreuse collection de livres provenant de la bibliothèque de feu M. le Comte J.-N.-A. de Fortsas, dont la vente se fera à Binche, le 10 août 1840, à onze heures du matin, en l’étude et par le ministère de Me. Mourlon, Notaire, rue de l’Église, no. 9.

IMAGINARY LIBRARIES). [CHALON, Renier Hubert Ghislain]. 'FORTSAS, comte de'. First edition of this very rare and notorious catalogue for the sale of the library of the comte de Fortsas in Mons, 1840. In that year, booksellers, librarians and collectors were surprised to receive copies of a sale catalogue for a remarkable library, containing just 52 books, each purporting to be a work or edition existing in a single copy only. The catalogue introduction explains that the comte collected only these otherwise unrecorded books and that if he subsequently found reference to any in bibliographies and catalogues he would deaccession them by selling, donation or even destruction. There are also helpful annotations to some lots from the comte's own notes and some condition statements. Converging on the small town of Binche on August 10th, hopeful bidders were surprised to find the notary's office in which the sale was to be held did not actually exist and later, to learn that there was no library of unique books, and no comte de Fortsas. The hoax had been perpetrated by Renier Hubert Ghislain Chalon, an antiquarian who enjoyed playing elaborate pranks on intellectuals. This copy also contains the exceptionally rare 'Avis' sheet (officially stamped) bound at the end - the notice issued by Chalon stating that the sale was cancelled and that the books had been acquired en bloc by the public library of the town of Binche.132 copies only of the catalogue were printed, and 73 copies of the Avis. It was reprinted very quickly, but the first edition is very rare and is recognised by the word 'rue' as the first word of the eighth line on the title (the earliest reprint has that word at the end of the line above): W. Klinefelter, The Fortsas Bibliohoax (1941) 8vo (204 × 120 mm), pp. [4], 12, wood engraved ornaments, plus a leaf of early manuscript describing affair, at front, and the original 'Avis' cancelling the sale, at rear. Nineteenth-century morocco-backed boards, bookplates of Edouard Ipers.
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Illustrated manuscript.

CONFESSION). A pictorial aid to the sacrament of Confession, made for the use of a young girl or woman. It opens with an image of her kneeling before the priest: 'Reverendo domino, seu pater muta et surda, ad te venio ut confitear peccata mea.' There follows a series of representations of typical sins, with short captions in Latin, representing the potential sins to be confessed, including: distraction during the Eucharist, working on the Sabbath, missing confession, confession without repentance, disrespect to parents, anger, pride/vanity, hatred towards neighbours (for the term of an hour, a day, a week, a month or a year, emblematically depicted), arguing at games, gossiping, theft, lying, gluttony ('usque ad vomitum'), and two degrees of impure thought (general, and towards another outside marriage). Each emblem is a neat summation of the sin, using a variety of visual devices: distraction shown as curling lines rising from the head and terminating in frivolous curls; speech as an oscillating line, and the sins of the heart as a single red heart. At the end are three acts of contrition.These emblems are typical of the pictorial culture of devotion found in contemporary Dutch catholic images and manuscripts, though we have never encountered a similar collection. The book is also typical of contemporary practical aids to confession, sometimes printed, designed to be taken into the confessional. This example is unusual for being specifically female.The little book, evidently well-used, has been later reused as a notebook for household accounts, in Dutch, with dates up to around 1820. Manuscript on paper, 8vo (152 × 92 mm), 40 Leaves, including 26 ink drawings (some highlighted in colour) within ruled borders (c. 85 × 70 mm), plus numerous later household accounts/notes in Dutch or Flemish. Quite thumbed, some minor neat repairs. Contemporary stiff paper wrappers, probably the books' former endpapers, preserved in recent limp vellum, to style.
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Prières hymnes et offices [Les sept pseaumes de la Pénitance].

PENITENTIAL PSALMS). [RANCÉ, Armand-Jean-Baptiste Le Bouthillier de, Abbot of La Trappe]. An interesting seventeenth-century manuscript of the Seven Penitential Psalms. The Latin psalms (6, 31, 37, 50, 101, 129, and 142) are presented in the ruled margins, while the central text is that of the French paraphrases attributed to the Abbé de Rancé (1626-1700), recent founder of the monastery of La Trappe. His paraphrases were included in his posthumous collected works, but we have been unable to find them in any pre-1700 publication, suggesting they circulated in manuscript only at the time this little manuscript was made.The title bears an attractive coloured vignette illustrating a passage from psalm 140: 'Que ma priére s'élève vers vous, comme la fumée de l'encens du matin: que l'élévation des mes mains vous soit aussi agréable que le sacrifice du soir'. The second title verso bears an attractive contemporary print, enclosed within red ruled lines and part of the intended design of the manuscript. The early inscription locates the manuscript with the provost or prior of the collegiate church of St Peter, Lille ('de insulis'), one of the majour foundations of the city, destroyed at the Revolution. It had become associated with the Lille cult of Notre-Dame des sept douleurs. Manuscript on paper, 8vo (156 × 100 mm), pp. [90], plus a parchment flyleaf at front and rear. Title with gouache vignette with traces of silver ink (now oxidised to black), justification ruled in red throughout, an engraved plate depicting King David and his harp pasted to the verso of the second title. Light marginal thumbing. Contemporary red goatskin, panelled in gilt, spine with five raised bands, gilt edges. Slightly rubbed, preserved in a modern black morocco slipcase by Riviere. First vellum flyleaf with early inscription: 'Ex libris: D[omi]ni praepositi ecclesiae s[anc]ti Petri insulis'.
Commonplace book]

Commonplace book]

MENGIN, Félicité. The commonplace of a young woman, begun at the age of 14 in the convent of the Visitation (Nancy) and finished 5 years later. In Félicité's words on the title-page: 'Commencé en 1812 à la Visitation; fini en 1817 dans le monde'. Genelaogical records tell us that she was born on 10 February 1798 at Nancy and died at the age of 25 on 21 January 1823, at the age of 24, having given birth to a daughter, Cécile, in that month. She had married Charles Froment in 1821.Her commonplace book, fully completed, is perhaps typical of an orthodox Catholic education of the post-Revolutionary era, beginning with extracts from pious and devotional works giving advice on conduct, motherhood and family life and preparing young girls for life outside the convent. It opens with a 'Testament spirituel de Mad. de M***' (d. 1797) and includes 'Maximes d'une jeune Personne qui entre dans le Monde' which provides a series of morsels of advice on: prudence and discretion, truth and sincerity, politesse, impartiality, moderation and so on. Later portions of the book include literary extracts, including verses from the popular journals of the day, a long extract (in French) from Fielding's Sir Charles Grandisson giving the Italian catholic, Clementine della Poretta's letter to the protestant Grandisson, and selections from Victor-Joseph Étienne de Jouy's, satires on Parisian life: L'Ermite de la Chaussée d'Antin, published from 1811 to 1814 in the weekly Gazette de France. Manuscript, small 4to (190 × 158 mm), pp. 187, [9]. In a legible hand and in French throughout. Contemporary green half vellum, decorative block printed paper covered boards, linen ties (one partly missing). Rubbed and slightly soiled. An attractive volume.
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The Illustrated London News Panorama of London and the River Thames.

PANORAMA). [SMYTH, Frederick James, engraver]. Given away with the Illustrated London News on January 11th 1845. Apparently printed from 12 adjacent woodblocks. Examples were also issued folded, or mounted on linen, and not all were coloured. For an example not laid to linen, this one is in a good state of repair. The long Panoramic view is from an aerial elevation looking North across the river: Buckingham Palace and the Palace of Westminster (the latter before the addition of Big Ben, of course) stand a the western end, while Greenwich Hospital marks its easterly extent. Between those two points, the river curves eastwards, teeming with contemporary ships and rivercraft and the streets of the northern riverbank presented in admirable detail, together with all the major landmarks of the city, as denoted by the key. Included are: Nelson's Column, erected three years before; the short-lived Hungerford Suspension Bridge (1845-1862, when it was removed and the chain used on the Clifton Suspension Bridge over the Avon) and the Marble Arch used as the gateway to Buckingham Palace (it was re-erected in Hyde Park only in 1851). Hand-coloured wood engraved panorama on 2 sheets (310 × 2430 mm total), together with 'Key' on separate leaf, all mounted on original wooden roller with red morocco-grain cloth cover lettered in gilt (with adverts to verso). Short marginal tears and nicks, as usual, more frequent towards the opening,some neatly repaired, one longer tear near the beginning repaired with archival tissue, some vertical creasing. Overall, a very good example of a fragile item.