Tag Archive: 0france

A little je ne sais quoi by Beckford’s librarian

A little je ne sais quoi by Beckford’s librarian

6th April 2022

Printed in Meaux, east of Paris (and presumably in limited numbers), this is a copy of the first edition of a rare little book of epigrams by Ange-Denis Maquin (1756–1823), a professor of rhetoric and belles-lettres who subsequently fled across the Channel during the Terror.  Settling at Hastings, ‘he began learning English and supported himself […]

The first pornographer

The first pornographer

28th April 2021

Intended as the first of a projected series of works with the general title ‘Idées singulières’, this is an important early manifesto for the regulation of prostitution, published not in London, as the title-page maintains, but in Paris in 1769.  It also holds a significant place in the historical use of pornography—literally ‘writing about prostitutes’—as […]

Under another sky

Under another sky

17th September 2020

Under ordinary circumstances, I would have been in Paris today, for the opening this evening of the annual Salon international du Livre rare. But I am in still in beechy Buckinghamshire, enjoying instead some late summer sunshine. My mind, however, has turned to French books, and one in particular which I have at the moment. […]

The first ‘blank bookplate’?

The first ‘blank bookplate’?

29th July 2020

There’s always a danger in book history when you suggest you may have found the first instance of something, but I wonder: could this be the first blank bookplate, i.e. ones that are pre-printed with ‘This book belongs to …’ that you then fill in yourself with your name? These block-printed covers were produced in […]

Vive la France?

Vive la France?

14th July 2016

This scarce satirical etching, The Beaux Nurses, refers to the controversy and protest surrounding a French theatrical company, nicknamed the ‘French Strollers’, who applied for and were granted a licence to perform at the Haymarket in the winter of 1749.  Their arrival occasioned much discontent; as the Scots Magazine reported, they were ‘bitterly pelted in […]

More coloured paper

More coloured paper

23rd May 2016

Last week, I wrote about a book printed on coloured paper which I shall be exhibiting at the forthcoming London International Antiquarian Book Fair.  Here are two more:     These charming little books are two popular local guides for French and English passengers travelling along the Seine from Paris to the sea.  Both were published […]