Lot n° 89
4 000 - 5 000 EUR
CONSTANT (Constant Wairy, says). Memoirs[...]...
CONSTANT (Constant Wairy, says). Memoirs[...] on Napoleon's private life, his life and his Court. In Paris, at Ladvocat's, 1830-. 6 volumes in-8, half calf midnight blue with corners, back with wide ribs decorated with gold and cold motifs with black ex-libris piece, dotted nets on the leather edge on the plates, speckled edges, very slightly rubbed binding, some freckles, sometimes strong on the introductory sheets (period binding). I: (4)-iv-xv-(1 white)-357-(1 white) pp. - II: (4)-364 pp. - III: (4)-vii-(1 white)-400 pp. - IV: (4)- 400 pp. - V: (4)-397-(1 white) pp. - VI: (4)-432 pp. Original edition Among the most famous memoirs of "dyers" on the Empire. Constant, the first valet and therefore Napoleon's closest servant from 1800 to 1814, could only provide an extraordinarily intimate testimony to the emperor. The introduction immediately rejects the usual criticism of this kind of memoir: "It has been claimed that there were no heroes for the valet. I ask permission not to agree with that. The emperor, no matter how close he was seen, was always a hero, and there was much to be gained by seeing in him also the man closely and in detail" (t. I, p. xi). And for this reason, these memories met with great success - a success, however, due in large part to the editorial skill of the bookseller Pierre-François Ladvocat, who published many memoirs, authentic, arranged or fictional. In Constant's case, it seems that they were indeed established on the basis of elements provided by the person concerned, but that these elements were arranged by professional writers (for this reason called "dyers"): Jean-Baptiste-Bonaventure de Roquefort-Flaméricourt, for the first volumes, then the Méliot brothers, Auguste Luchet and Désiré Nisard, and, for the last volumes, Charles-Maxime Catherinet dit de Villemarest (Tulard, n° 351). Constant's memoirs are also completed and enriched with complementary texts of definite interest: first of all the "Memories of a Lady of the Imperial Palace", by Marie-Antoinette Elisabeth Le Michaud d'Arçon, Baroness of Vaudey de Vellexon, then a set of documents concerning the military operations of 1807 in Dalmatia, and finally "Le Piémont sous l'Empire et la cour du prince Borghese [....], 1808 and 1809", probably personal memories of Villemarest, secretary of Prince Camille Borghese when he was Governor General of the departments across the Alps. Provenance: Henry Seymour (piece ex-libris gilded with his initials in a crowned shield). Henry Seymour (1805-1859), a prominent personality in the romantic Paris of the Duke of Orleans, was a member of the Dukes of Sommerset family but was the result of a misalliance between his father, the Earl of Yarmouth and later the Marquis of Hertford, and a beautiful Italian aristocrat of uncertain paternity. Henry Seymour was one of the founders of the Jockey club, helped introduce British sports fashion to France, and also distinguished himself by his taste for bibliophilia.
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