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Grolier Club Exhibitions

First Impressions. Bibliography: Collecting the Book as Object.

Catalogus variorum insignium et rariorum librorum, pia memoria, D. Guilhelmi van der Meer … 

Catalogus variorum insignium et rariorum librorum, pia memoria, D. Guilhelmi van der Meer …

Willem Vander Meer, d. 1594. Delft: Bruyn H. Schinckel, 1609.

Although the library of the well-to-do Dutch attorney Willem Vander Meer (d. 1594) includes some rare and interesting books, its importance as a collection is eclipsed by the importance of this printed record of the 1609 sale, one of the very earliest book auction catalogues. Book auctions were a relatively recent Dutch innovation, and the earliest sale to be accompanied by a printed catalogue had been held just a decade before, in 1599. The catalogue of the 1609 Vander Meer sale complements extensive and significant holdings at the Club of printed book auction catalogues from England, France, and other countries, dating from the seventeenth century to the present day, and providing uniquely valuable data on private collecting and the book trade in early modern Europe.

Purchased at auction in 2010 with the generous support of the Bernard H. Breslauer Foundation.

Karl Heinrich, Graf von Hoym, 1694-1736

The Life of Charles Henry Count Hoym, Ambassador from Saxony-Poland to France and Eminent French Bibliophile, 1694-1736.

The Life of Charles Henry Count Hoym, Ambassador from Saxony-Poland to France and Eminent French Bibliophile, 1694-1736.

Baron Jérôme Pichon, 1812-1896. New York: The Grolier Club, 1899.

In the first few decades of its existence, the Grolier Club regularly printed a very small number—usually no more than three—of the copies in a particular edition on vellum. The process of printing on prepared animal skin was difficult and expensive, but the result was luxurious in the extreme, achieving visual and tactile effects impossible to duplicate in standard printing on paper; and the auction of these very special copies at the Club's Annual Meeting regularly brought substantial sums for the Grolier's publication fund.

A very few of these exceedingly rare “unicorns” have made their way back to the Club, and this one nicely complements the spectacular Hoym manuscript inventory acquired by the Club in 2012. We don’t know which early Grolier Club member acquired this vellum copy at auction in the year 1900, but whoever he was, he commissioned the Club Bindery in 1905 to dress the volume in full crushed morocco, with the Club device in gilt on the covers.

Gustav Planer
Gustav Planer. (German, 1818-1873).

Ch. Henry Comte de Hoym, 1872. Engraving, 13½ x 10½ in (platemark).

Engraving of the Count d’Hoym after the 1716 painting by French artist Hyacinthe Rigaud (1659-1743).

Description bibliographique d'une très-belle collection de livres, rares et curieux, provenant de la bibliothèque de Melle. la Comtesse d'Yve. Description bibliographique d'une très-belle collection de livres, rares et curieux, provenant de la bibliothèque de Melle. la Comtesse d'Yve.

Description bibliographique d'une très-belle collection de livres, rares et curieux, provenant de la bibliothèque de Melle. la Comtesse d'Yve.

Anne-Thérèse-Philippine, Comtesse d’Yve, 1738-1814. 2 vols. Bruxelles: Auguste Wahlen, 1819-1820.

The Comtesse d’Yve was a Belgian aristocrat known for her political activism and participation in the Brabant Revolution of 1789-1790. She was also a formidable collector of early printed books, as demonstrated by this posthumous sale catalogue of her library. Lot 6 describes her superb copy of the Gutenberg Bible in its original fifteenth-century binding, now owned by Eton College. Although the Comtesse was not the first woman to own the Gutenberg Bible, she was the first to acquire a copy as a bibliophilic pursuit.

Purchased in 2005 at the Breslauer sale with Grolier Club Library Harper Funds, generously supported by Grolier Club member donations.

First Impressions. Bibliography: Collecting the Book as Object.