RARE AND SOUGHT AFTER POMPADOUR BINDING
Le Clerc, Jean. La vie du cardinal duc de Richelieu par M. Le Clerc. Nouvelle edition. Revue & augmentue de piuces curieuses & historiques, qui servent à son eclaircissement. A Amsterdam: aux dèépens de la Compagnie, 1753
Two large 16mo volumes (out of five), full roan calf binding with the coat of arms of the MARQUISE DE POMPADOUR printed in gold within triple fillet frame to both covers, red leather label with gilt letterings at spine, number of the volume printed below the label, floral decorations in gold along the spine, red edges, marbled fly-leaves, pp. XXIV, 499, (1, blank) to first volume; pp. (4), 501, (1, blank) to the second one.
THE EARLY LIFE OF ARMAND JEAN DU PLESSIS, THE FAMOUS CARDINAL RICHELIEU THAT WAS CHIEF MINISTER OF THE KING OF FRANCE LOUIS XIII.
JEANNE-ANTOINETTE POISSON, well known as MADAME DE POMPADOUR (1721-1764) WAS THE MOST FAMOUS MISTRESS OF KING LOUIS XV OF FRANCE AND A POP ICON OF HER TIME. A group of courtiers, endorsed her as courtesan to Louis XV. Jeanne-Antoinette was invited to a royal masquerade ball in February 1745: by March she had become a regular visitor and king's mistress, and the king installed her at Versailles. He also bought her Pompadour, the first of six residences. In July, Louis made her a marquise, had her legally separated from her husband, and on September 14 she was formally presented at court. Madame de Pompadour was intelligent, beautiful, and educated; she also learned to dance, engrave and to play the clavichord. She had a keen interest in literature. She had known Voltaire before her ascendancy, and the playwright apparently advised her in her courtly role. The popular belief ”and contemporary opinions” thought she had much political influence, even if not direct. Pompadour supported the Pacte de Famille, the suppression of the Jesuits, and the peace of Versailles that lost Canada. She also discreetly endorsed Diderotìs Encyclopèdie project, planned some of the most important buildings in Paris like the Place de la Concorde and the Petit Trianon and employed the stylish marchands-merciers, trendsetting shopkeepers who were turning Chinese vases into ewers with gilt-bronze Rococo handles and were mounting writing tables with the new Sèvres porcelain plaques. Pompadour suffered two miscarriages in the 1750s, and she is said to have arranged lesser mistresses for the king's pleasure to replace herself. Although they did not sleep together after 1750, Louis XV remained devoted to her until her death in 1764 at the age of 42.
ARMAND JEAN DU PLESSIS, CARDINAL DUC DE RICHELIEU AND DE FRONSAC (1585-1642) dominated the history of France from 1624 to his death as Louis XIII's chief minister, succeeding Luynes who died in 1621. Richelieu is considered to be one of the greatest politicians in French history. He was the third son of the Lord of Richelieu, educated in Paris at the Collège de Navarre, at a military school and then at the Collège de Calvi where he studied theology. The plan was for him to take over the family bishopric at Luon in Poitou. In April 1607, after receiving a papal dispensation as he was only 21, he was ordained as a priest and bishop. Richelieu had huge ambitions to achieve far reaching power. By 1614 had achieved a reputation as a fine administrator in his diocese and he was considered a very good speaker at the meetings of the Estates-General. He became known as a dèvot (a very strong supporter of Roman Catholicism) who then held pro-Spanish views. These were made known to the regent, Marie de Medici, who rewarded Richelieu by bringing him to the Royal Court in November 1515 where he was appointed Chaplain to the new queen, Anne of Austria. The royal favourite, Concini, also believed that Richelieu was talented and had him appointed Secretary of State for War and Foreign Affairs. When Concini was murdered in 1517, it appeared as if the political career of Richelieu was over. Marie de Medici was exiled to a chateau at Blois and Richelieu went with her. In 1622, Marie was successfully re-instated at court as a result of Richelieu's skilled negotiations with Louis XIII. She persuaded her son that he was a highly skilled politician. Louis knew that a long term replacement for Luynes was needed and in April 1624, Richelieu was given a seat on the Royal Council and in August 1624, was made Chief Minister. In this position, he attacked the Huguenots; reformed the navy and army; crushed any rebellions and advanced royal absolutism; he raised money by any methods required and he supervised a foreign policy that was designed to make France the greatest power in Europe. He died on the 4th December 1642. His time as Chief Minister had brought untold suffering to the general population of France, but he had pushed the nation on to the path of glory. Just days before he died, Richelieu wrote to Louis XIII: «I have the consolation of leaving your kingdom in the highest degree of glory and of reputation».
Provenance: THE LIBRARY OF MME POMPADOUR WAS SOLD IN 1765 IN A GREAT AUCTION IN PARIS: a New York bookseller has among his books the original auction catalogue, whose description I add here, hoping it could be exciting for all Pompadour collectors. According to Peignot, THE COLLECTION OF POMPADOUR «WAS REMARKABLE FOR THE PART CONCERNING THE THEATRE, ONE OF THE MOST COMPLETE EVER KNOWN» AND FOR THE QUALITY OF THE BINDINGS, «TREASURES FOR THE COLLECTOR».
For Pompadour's coat of arms, see OLIVIER, planche 2399 (no. 4).