Item #4266 Les Étourdis, ou Le Mort supposé ... représentée sur le théatre de la cour, le lundi 24 juin 1816, a l'occasion du mariage de S.A.R. Mgr. Le Duc De Berry. Marie-Caroline BERRY, duchess of, princess of Bourbon-Sicily, owner —, François-Guillaume-Jean-Stanislas ANDRIEUX.
Les Étourdis, ou Le Mort supposé ... représentée sur le théatre de la cour, le lundi 24 juin 1816, a l'occasion du mariage de S.A.R. Mgr. Le Duc De Berry.
Les Étourdis, ou Le Mort supposé ... représentée sur le théatre de la cour, le lundi 24 juin 1816, a l'occasion du mariage de S.A.R. Mgr. Le Duc De Berry.
Les Étourdis, ou Le Mort supposé ... représentée sur le théatre de la cour, le lundi 24 juin 1816, a l'occasion du mariage de S.A.R. Mgr. Le Duc De Berry.
The bride’s souvenir

Les Étourdis, ou Le Mort supposé ... représentée sur le théatre de la cour, le lundi 24 juin 1816, a l'occasion du mariage de S.A.R. Mgr. Le Duc De Berry. Paris: Vente, 1816.

8vo (200 x 125 mm). [4], 82 pp. Wove paper. Some light foxing. Bound in gold-tooled citron straight-grained morocco with arms of the Duchesse de Berry, pink glazed paper endpapers, gilt edges, by Simier, with his ticket as Relieur du Roi, de S.A.R. Madame, Duchesse de Berry et de S.A.R. Mgr le duc de Bordeaux. Provenance: the Duchess of Berry, supra-libros and Rosny bookplate, sale, Paris 1837, lot 920; Alexis Rouart (1839-1911), booklabel; Eugène Aubry-Vitet (1845-1930), bookplate.***

The Duchesse de Berry’s personal copy, bound for her by René Simier, of a special edition of Andrieux’s popular play, performed on the occasion of her marriage. An Italian princess whose grandfather and father were Kings of the Two Sicilies, Maria Carolina’s childhood in Naples and Palermo was cut short at the age of 16, when she was married to Charles-Ferdinand d'Artois, duc de Berry, nephew of Louis XVIII and second son of the future Charles X, the last king of France. She had three pregnancies in rapid succession, and was pregnant again when her husband was assassinated by a Bonapartist in 1820. That son, Henri de Chambord, the last legitimate descendant of Louis XV, was recognized by Royalists as Henri V (see also our copy of Barrois, Dactylologie, 1850).

The Duchess’s famously colorful life included a secret remarriage, attempts to foment a royalist insurrection, and a spell in prison. She was a lifelong devotee of the theater, an important patron of the arts, and an eminent bibliophile, who had her books bound in various colors of morocco, almost all by René Simier père. Simier had been binder as well to her cousin Empress Marie Luise, and, as noted on his ticket, was  and to King Louis XVIII. Simier has been called the greatest French binder of his generation: his “variety and technique were superb; he had no superior and few rivals during his career” (Ramsden, French Bookbinders, p. 190). Forced into exile from France after her failed coup, the Duchess was obliged to sell the library of approximately 8000 volumes that she had assembled at her chateau in Rosny-sur-Seine; the sale held in Paris in 1837 attracted a fiercely competitive crowd. 

François Andrieux, elected to the Académie française in 1803, was a gifted creator of intricate comedies and a fierce opponent of Lamartine and the Romantic school. Les Étourdis, first performed in 1787, was his most durably popular play, praised for its brilliant versification, witty dialogue, and original characters.

This touching association copy later belonged to Alexis Rouart, art collector and an early collector of Japanese woodcuts, and to Eugène Aubry-Vitet, archivist-paleographer and historian, and confidant of another royal pretender, Henri, comte de Paris.

OCLC records 2 copies only, at Stanford and Duke; NUC adds U. Penn. Quérard, La France littéraire, I, p. 61 (other editions only); Catalogue de la riche bibliothèque de Rosny (Paris: Bossange, 1837), no. 920; Catalogue de livres rares et précieux très-bien conditionnés (Paris: Labitte, 1872), no. 170. See also P. Guibal, “La bibliothèque de la duchesse de Berry au château de Rosny,” in Les relieurs du rois de France: l’atelier Simier (sale, Paris, Lafon-Castandet 2 June, 2010), pp. 5-10, online.
Item #4266

Price: $3,750.00