[1428 lots of books, and nine lots of scientific instruments.] Paul Girardot de Préfond suffered a serious bout of melancholy after retiring—in his thirties—from the family timber business. His personal physician, Hyacinthe-Théodore Baron, a bibliophile of some standing (whose own not-insubstantial collection was dispersed at auction in 1787), recommended that his young patient develop a library to fight the malaise. Armed with adequate resources, Préfond built, in a few short years, one of the great collections of the 18th century, and then decided, not without a note of shame at his level of selectivity and connoisseurship, that he would disperse that collection at auction and start collecting anew, this time with a keener eye and a higher standard for acquisitions. The present work is the catalogue for the first collection, drawn up by Guillaume DeBure and published in 1757. Apart from the quality of the books offered, the catalogue is most interesting for its long, detailed list of upcoming auction highlights, and for the substantive number of lots of bibliographic titles, particularly early auction and private library catalogues. Works from Préfond's first library are recognizable by a gilt morocco bookplate, designed by Padeloup (Préfond's preferred binder) and pasted to the upper pasteown or doublure. The development of Préfond's second library, though off to a sensational start, was, after a decade, stalled by pressure from his creditors, and eventually sold en bloc to the Count MacCarthy-Reagh for 50,000 livres.
Paris: Guillaume DeBure, 1757. Octavo
, 204 x 130 x 30 mm (binding); 201 x 128 x 25 mm (text block). π2, *1, a-g4, A-Z4, Aa-Ff4, Gg5; , lvi, 241 pp. Bound in contemporary sprinkled sheep, full gilt back, titled in gilt on maroon lettering-piece: CATALOGU | DE | GIRARDOT, green silk bookmark. Head cap a bit chipped, minor wear to extremities. Interior
: Unobtrustive staining to first and last leaves, occasional spotting and light foxing. A very good, unsophisticated copy.
Provenance: Ornate period signature to verso of title: Lesbaupin. A few modern penciled notes to verso of front free end.
References: Taylor p. 256 (citing Dibdin); Blogie col. 8 (the only catalogue cited for 1757), North 135 (noting that the remarks in the NYPL copy state that the sale took place from 25 April to 9 May, 1757); Dibdin p. 91; Bogeng Die grossen bibliphilen p. 135 (noting that the Duc de la Vallière acquired much of the present library).