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23 Mar 2018
Tableau Synoptique de Prévision Météorologique (1888)
On the occasion of World Meteorological Day, let us present to you a really exceptional object ! To the best of our knowledge, this 1888 Weather Forecast Synoptic Table could well be the first "instrument" designed for making weather forecasts !

With the two shortest branches of the moving arrow, the user was to indicate the
atmospheric pressure, direction of the prevailing winds and general weather tendency, which resulted with the main branch indicating the weather to come ! Of course !

Designed in Clermont-Ferrand by J.R. Plumandon, Meteorologist at the Observatoire du Puy-de-Dome, and A, Colomês, member of the Société Météorologique de France, this extremely rare object was the "result of the experience acquired during twelve years of making the daily weather forecast at the Observatoire du Puy-de-Dôme".

Congratulations to these pioneers, and fair winds to you !

posted by  Benjamin at  17:07 | permalink | comments [0]

2 Mar 2018
Roch Le Baillif in New York City
We are now fully ready for the New York Antiquarian Bookfair 2018 ! Please come and say hello to Julien Comellas at Booth B24! Among the 101 fine books on display, this extremely rare collection of works by Roch Le Baillif (1540-1605), the French physician and alchemist of mythical fame! See you in the Big Apple!

posted by  Benjamin at  17:38 | permalink | comments [0]

23 Feb 2018
Cabinet de Curiosités #1
And your Friday bibliographical curiosity today is... this 1784 clandestine defence of the Waldensian Christian movement ! A copy that may have belonged to the famous Geneva naturalist and philosopher Charles Bonnet !

Attributed by Quérard to scholar Jacques Maranda, the book contains very interesting information on the history of the Christian movement founded by the Lyon preacher Pierre Valdo (or Valdès), as well as fragments from "La Noble Leiçon" in the Vaud language, one of the fundamental texts of this long persecuted movement !

The Waldensians’ historical ties with Geneva invite us to formulate the hypothesis that the handwritten inscription "C. Bonnet" on the title page could come from the great Genevan scientist Charles Bonnet (1720-1793), a most erudite mind and the author of pioneering studies on parthenogenesis !

Cabinet de Curiosités
posted by  Benjamin at  16:55 | permalink | comments [0]

16 Feb 2018
A sumptuous "Liber Amicorum" ?
We’re back ! And we’ve got something really beautiful to present to you !

Chances are one of you might help us solve the mystery that is this extraordinary copy of the doctoral thesis of Dutch lawyer Willem Wendilium van Berckel (1718-1799) !

This unique copy is remarkable in that it contains only the title page and the dedication leaves of the thesis : in lieu of the actual 50 pages text, 6 luxurious silk leaves ! What's more, the printed paper quires and silk leaves come in an astonishing green velvet binding decorated with gold thread embroidy !

The purpose for manufacturing this objet remains uncertain; yet, the inclusion of the dedication leaves following the title page and blank silk leaves seem to indicate that the blank leaves were meant to be filled by the student's friends and family.

The unusually magnificent character of the binding, which stands in contrast with the austerity of a legal thesis, invites us to think that this copy was meant to be a sumptuous "Liber Amicorum" !

Dear friends, please let us know what you think of this !

Enigma Bibliographica
posted by  Benjamin at  17:01 | permalink | comments [0]

5 Jan 2018
Flos Aetatis
The whole team of Librería Comellas wishes you a happy new year!

To celebrate the passage to 2018, we invite you to discover this very rare collection of treatises composed by French theologian Jacques Almain, a posthumous edition published in 1518!

Five hundred years old! The prime of life!

posted by  Benjamin at  15:35 | permalink | comments [0]

29 Dec 2017
Madame de Pompadour's "bibliothèque"
As the year 2017 comes to an end, the time has come for us to thank you, as more and more of you follow us here!

In your honour, it is our pleasure to present to you a copy of the library catalogue of a great patroness of the arts and letters, who was born on December, 29th: Jeanne-Antoinette Poisson, better known as Madame de Pompadour (29 Dec. 1721 - 15 Apr. 1764)!

Dear friends and bibliophiles, on behalf of the Librería Comellas team, I wish you a very happy end of the year!

posted by  Benjamin at  13:04 | permalink | comments [0]

22 Dec 2017
Occitan Cuckold Anthems
What better day than today - as the intense political campaign has finally come to an end here in Catalonia - to present to you a charming little collection of… cuckold anthems!
Printed in Montpellier, this collection of songs in Occitan patois (including one in French) was published on the occasion of the 1832 carnival, during which, as tradition dictated, the young grooms celebrated their condition as new "cournards"!
Needless to say, such anthems to the inevitability of deception and unfulfilled promises could still resonate today!

posted by  Benjamin at  18:12 | permalink | comments [0]

15 Dec 2017
"Pourtraits Divers"
As the finest connoisseurs of the history of French Renaissance engraving will know, there is no "typo" above, but the exact (“trait pour trait”, if I may say!) title of the fabulous collection of engravings published by the great Lyon printer Jan de Tournes in 1557!

The work of de Tournes' favourite engraver Bernard Solomon (known as "le Petit Bernard"), this amazing book does include portraits, but also scenes of everyday life, of hunting, as well as mythological scenes, allegories, etc.

The copy we present to you today is uncut, and contains 64 plates! (i.e. one plate more than the 63 in the most complete copies recorded).

An exceptional work, from the title to the last page!

Great Printers
posted by  Benjamin at  11:29 | permalink | comments [0]

24 Nov 2017
Sign Language
On November, 24th, 1712, Charles-Michel de l'Epée, founder of the Institute for the Deaf and Mute and inventor of "sign language", was born: a century and a half before Saussure, the Abbé de l'Epée already invited us to conceive of any language - spoken or not - as a system of signs!
As a tribute to l’Epée, here is an "ex dono authoris" copy of the original edition of his main work, published in 1776 !
Should you want to know more about this work, please sign up to our webiste !

posted by  Benjamin at  16:47 | permalink | comments [0]

11 Nov 2017
The Metric System
Today, as we celebrate both World Science Day for Peace and Development and the "Dia de las librerías" here in Barcelona, we invite you to discover this precious book from 1796, intended to publicize the metric system- the implementation of which was one of the most brilliant manifestations of the rational and universalist ideals of the French Revolution!
The 17 memoirs, plates and tables that make up this collection first appeared separately, before being bound here together under a collective title; the work also contains the text of the law of Germinal, 18th, Year III (1795) which established the metric system throughout the territory of the French Republic.

May peace and centimeters be upon you!

posted by  Benjamin at  11:52 | permalink | comments [0]

20 Oct 2017
So British!
Next week, we will look forward to seeing you at INK Fair, in London! Julien Comellas has filled his suitcases with a hundred fantastic books! Among them, this precious collection of 38 original drawings of women’s hats, certainly the work of Parisian fashion designer from the 1920s!

posted by  Benjamin at  17:00 | permalink | comments [0]

13 Oct 2017
"La théorie des chances"
Did you know that, on Friday, 13th, while many around the globe fear they might be hit by some bad luck, most French people hope to get lucky and win the traditional Friday 13th lottery?!
So if you feel like defying the odds of the lottery and taking your ultimate chance at fulfilling your secret dream of a scholarly retreat on a distant island, let me recommend you read Antoine Cournot's Exposition de la Théorie des Chances et des Probabilités (Paris, 1843), of which it is our pleasure to present to you a beautiful copy of the first edition!
I know that the odds of winning are about 1 out of 139000000, but there is absolutely no way I give in to "paraskevidekatriaphobia"!
You do as you please! I will send you postcards from my island!

posted by  Benjamin at  17:33 | permalink | comments [0]

6 Oct 2017
"Liars Academy"
According to some commentators of the political spectacle, we would have entered a new era, that of the "post-truth", in which conspiracy theories , emotions and "fake news" would finally have prevailed over objectivity, reason and truth.

It seems to us, however, that some commentators seem to forget a little quickly that lying is old as the hills...old as politics!

The truth is, in these days, many a politician could easily graduate from the “Académie des menteurs”! (Paris, 1838)


posted by  Benjamin at  17:36 | permalink | comments [0]

29 Sep 2017
We're back !
The truth is we were never really gone, you know that! After a very intense summer here in Barcelona, we are ready for an autumn (*) which promises to be tempestuous!

All aboard! Captain's on the helm! The course is set! The crew is on deck, ready for reefing if necessary! This journey will not be a quiet one, but you can always come always come visit our quarters: the shelves are here filled with wonderful books for you to discover! Be our guests!

(*) For the uninitiated, an ancestral municipal ordinance stipulates that in Barcelona the summer lasts at least until October, 10th, with a minimum temperature of 25ºC at noon, four times a week, preferably on weekends.
posted by  Benjamin at  18:07 | permalink | comments [0]

7 Jul 2017
Of Erudites and Marriage
Dear lovers of knowledge, of books and of shelves, is there any room for marriage
in your libraries? In your opinion, should maverick intellectuals, hermit scholars and collectomaniac bibliophiles take the oath of marriage?

Inspired, not by personal questioning (well, maybe a little bit...), but by a curious German work from the early eighteenth century, we are asking for your personal position on a delicate question of eternal relevance!

Published in 1715 under the pseudonym of Irénée Carpentier, Eruditorum Coelibum Centuria Singularis is a collection of short biographical notices of great minds who never married, by a certain Gottfried Wagener – whose marital status we may guess!... Curiously enough, the work also includes the first edition of the treatise on the marriage of scholars by the German poet Mellemann – according to which scholars should not flee from matrimonial union – as well as Daniel Heinsius’s letter on “the qualities of a woman suitable for a scholar”... It seems, then, that long before us, Mr. Wagener also had his own doubts!

Dear enlightened minds, do you think it reasonable to take the plunge ? For both parties? ...Dear spouses of bibliophiles, were you really aware of the phenomenon when the two of you exchanged wedding rings ? Or is it that you were seduced by his collection of incunabula?

posted by  Benjamin at  17:34 | permalink | comments [0]

23 Jun 2017
The Story of the Devil’s Trial (1604)

For more information on the manuscript, click here.

posted by  Benjamin at  15:18 | permalink | comments [2]

16 Jun 2017
"The true inventor of the lightning rod"
While yesterday, June, 15th , some mentioned the anniversary of the night that Benjamin Franklin braved the violent summer storm that struck Philadelphia in order to conduct the famous kite experience, our thoughts went to the French physicist Jacques de Romas (1718-1776), considered by many as the true inventor of the lightning rod!

The detailed account of his experiences and of the controversies related to the paternity of the discovery is to be found in this Mémoire sur les moyens de se garantir de la foudre dans les maisons; suivi d'une lettre sur l'invention du cerf-volant électrique, avec les pièces justificatives de cette même lettre which was printed in Bordeaux at the twilight of Romas’s life, and of which we’d like to present to you a very fine copy!

posted by  Benjamin at  15:44 | permalink | comments [2]

9 Jun 2017
The "Recueil Léonard"
Once upon a time, on June, 9th, an incredible effervescence seized the little Basque town of Saint-Jean-de-Luz: the French Roi Soleil married the Infanta of Spain!

A few months earlier, after long weeks of hard negotiations that took place in the famous Pheasant Island, Bourbons and Habsburgs - respectively represented by Mazarin and Luis de Haro - finally found common ground! The Treaty of the Pyrenees was finally concluded, and the contract for the marriage of Louis XIV and Maria Theresa of Austria was drawn up, a consecration of the rapprochement between the two main European powers of the time!

These two documents, along with all the treaties signed by France between 1435 and 1692, are to be found in the "Léonard collection", of which we’d like present to you a nice copy of the first edition, in its contemporary binding!

Compiled by the Brussels-born printer-librarian Frédéric Léonard, this precious collection contains all the international treaties signed by France since the Middle Ages, including agreements signed with the Maghreb countries, with Muscovy or Siam, and even... with the Iroquois Nation!

Quite a piece of diplomatic history, isn’t it?

posted by  Benjamin at  16:13 | permalink | comments [0]

26 May 2017
Today, we continue our series of tributes to some of the greatest printers in History by presenting one of the most emblematic works of the great humanist scholar Henri Estienne!

Born of a line of French scholarly printers, Estienne was one of the great artisans in the rediscovery of the Greek and Latin classics, in search of which he travelled all over Europe! His annotated edition of the Greek Anthology, of which we present to you a remarkable copy, remained for a long time one of the authoritative editions!

Printed in Geneva in 1566, this copy was bound in full morocco in the 19th century, and bears the ex-libris of the English magistrate – one of the first to refute Darwin's theories – Robert Mackenzie Beverley: here is a very nice and unique piece of European literary history!

Great Printers
posted by  Benjamin at  15:44 | permalink | comments [0]

19 May 2017
Eikon Basilike
Perhaps frightened by the uncommonly low rainfall in Barcelona, few British works reach the shelves of the bookstore! The work we present to you today is therefore an exception, and not the least: here is a copy of the first edition of the first French translation of the legendary Eikon Basilike !

Published in 1649, a few weeks after the decapitation of King Charles I, this apocryphal autobiography of the late monarch was translated almost immediately into several languages, including this French translation by Norman writer Denis Cailloué, which was actually printed in London.

Our joy would not have been complete had we not been able to present to you the superb allegorical portal on the frontispiece, which is lacking in many copies: one is tempted to think that this fascinating depiction of Charles as a martyr perhaps contributed to the immense success of the work!

Many among you will of course have noted that we choose to bring a light to the king’s portrait on… the very anniversary day of the Proclamation of the Parliament of the Commonwealth of England!
Here’s our tribute to our British friends’ legendary sense of humor!

posted by  Benjamin at  16:21 | permalink | comments [0]

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