14 Sep 2018
“Dear reader, may God protect you from bad books...”
As a tribute to the master satirist and virtuoso of language Francisco de Quevedo Villegas, born on this day in 1580, we present to you a copy of an utmost rare Sevilla printing of his famous “Sueños y Discursos”, a collection of misanthropic fantasies of the afterworld first published in Barcelona in 1627. This slightly expurgated version was edited by a friend of the author, with his agreement, and published with an alternative title in order to escape censorship.

Estimado lector, que Dios lo proteja de los libros malos, la policía y las mujeres regañonas, con la cara lívida y el cabello rubio.


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



27 Jul 2018
On the Barricades of the July Revolution
After the storming of the Bastille, we could not resist the pleasure of presenting this suite of fine lithographs depicting the barricades of the Revolution of July 1830! This heroic vision is that of the painter Hyppolite Bellangé (1800-1866), a specialist in battle scenes famous for his paintings of the Napoleonic epic !


posted by  Benjamin at  16:14 | permalink | comments [0]



20 Jul 2018
Libri Medullitus Delectant
A little over seven centuries ago today, the great Petrarch was born !
As a tribute to the founder of Humanism, we present to you this rare and beautiful Venice edition (Il Petrarcha, Venegia, Bernardino Bindoni Milanese, 1543), illustrated with 6 engraved figures and a portrait of the master, and dressed in its contemporary vellum !

"[L]ibri medullitus delectant, colloquuntur, consulunt et viva quadam nobis atque arguta familiaritate iunguntur, neque solum se se lectoribus quisque suis insinuat, sed et aliorum nomen ingerit et alter alterius desiderium facit. » (Epistolae de Rebus Familiaribus, III, 18)



posted by  Benjamin at  12:48 | permalink | comments [0]



13 Jul 2018
The Beginning of the French Revolution according to Nicolas de Basseville
On the eve of Bastille Day, we invite you to discover a detailed chronicle of the events and debates that took place during the first months of the French Revolution, from the creation of the National Assembly until September 1789: “Mémoires historiques, critiques et politiques de la Révolution de France avec toutes les opérations de l'Assemblée Nationale” (Paris, chez l'Auteur, Bleuet, et Potier de Lille, 1790).
Its author, Nicolas de Basseville (1753-1793) was an editor at the Mercure National and then a diplomat in Italy; he died in Rome as a martyr of the young Republic, lynched by a mob raised by the papal clergy against the symbols of the French Revolution !

A beautiful copy in nice contemporary binding, illustrated with an engraving of the storming of the Bastille!


posted by  Benjamin at  16:30 | permalink | comments [0]



6 Jul 2018
Claude Garamond, King of Typographers
If the name Garamond is known by almost everyone today, it is certainly due in part to the outstanding quality of the Greek typefaces (“grecs du roi ”) that he designed for the royally-ordered printing of the Ecclesiastical History of Eusebius of Caesarea (Paris, Robert Estienne, 1544), the first history of the Church ever printed !

A kingly book for sure !


posted by  Benjamin at  13:06 | permalink | comments [0]



29 Jun 2018
Wurzelbau's Opera Geographico-Astronomica
Now that summertime’s here, don’t we all dream of a night spent watching the stars, far away from the city ? To celebrate the arrival of the favourite season for amateur astronomers, we present to you the works of an amateur so passionate and diligent in his observation that a crater of the Moon now bears his name: Johann Philipp von Wurzelbau (1651-1725) !

Has anybody seen my telescope ?


posted by  Benjamin at  17:08 | permalink | comments [0]



22 Jun 2018
Otto van Veen's Emblems Printed by Anna Margaretha Blanckaert
As a tribute to the many women printers whose identity was often reduced to that of "wife of" or "widow of the printer", and on the occasion of tomorrow's International Widows Day, we present to this very beautiful edition of the famous book of emblems by Flemish painter Otto van Veen, printed by Anna Margaretha Blanckaert (1670-1750), widow of the printer Henrik Verdussen. Missing from the title pages of the works she edited, the name of this great woman printer is not even mentioned in most bibliographies...

Because "to name is to show” and because “one is not born, but rather becomes, *the widow of”, here is her name again : Anna Margaretha Blanckaert !


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



15 Jun 2018
Fourcroy and the Annales de Chimie (1789-1815)
Born on June 15th, 1755, the chemist and revolutionary statesman Antoine-François de Fourcroy was one of the founders of the Annales de Chimie, a journal so fundamental to the emergence of the principles of modern chemistry.

In his honor, here is an utmost rare complete 50-volumes collection of the first series of publication (1789-1815), in charming contemporary binding.

A genuine monument, indeed !



posted by  Benjamin at  16:58 | permalink | comments [0]





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