Skip to main content
Go to accessibility notice

    Description

    Six Volumes of the Beautiful "Versailles Edition"
    of Celebrated French Memoirs

    [Katharine Prescott Wormeley, translator]. [Versailles Historical Series]. Comprising: The Prince de Ligne. His Memoirs, Letters, and Miscellaneous Papers. With an Introduction and Preface by C.-A. Sainte-Beuve and Madame de Staël-Holstein. In Two Volumes. [Together with:] Journal and Memoirs of the Marquis d'Argenson Published from the Autograph MSS. in the Library of the Louvre by E. J. B. Rathery. With an Introduction by C.-A. Sainte-Beuve. In Two Volumes. [And:] Letters of Mlle. de Lespinasse. With Notes on Her Life and Character by D'Alembert, Marmontel, De Guibert, etc. and an Introduction by C.-A. Sainte-Beuve. [And:] Diary and Correspondence of Count Axel Fersen Grand-Marshal of Sweden relating to the Court of France. Boston: Hardy, Pratt & Company, 1899-1902. Versailles Edition. Limited to 800 numbered sets, of which these volumes are all No. 118. Together four works in six octavo volumes (8.6875 x 5.6875 inches; 221 x 145 mm.). Photogravure portrait plates (including frontispieces), many tinted, with tissue guards, and facsimiles of manuscripts. Title-pages printed in red and black with wood-engraved vignettes.
    Uniformly bound by Taffin (stamp-signed in gilt on the front turn-in of each volume) in full navy or royal blue crushed levant morocco. Covers decoratively stamped in gilt with the royal arms of the Kingdom of France; spines in six compartments with five raised bands, lettered in gilt in the second compartment and dated in gilt at the foot; board edges and turn-ins ruled in gilt; marbled endpapers; top edge gilt, others uncut. Multicolor (yellow, red, green) silk ribbon bookmarks. Some spines very slightly faded to a greenish blue. Light rubbing to some corners and spine extremities; a few corners very lightly bumped; free endleaves browned at the edges from turn-ins. Some light browning to uncut edges of text leaves. Bookplate removed from front free endleaf of Diary and Correspondence of Count Axel Fersen. A fine set, in handsome contemporary bindings. From the library of John Carroll Collins.
    Please visit HA.com/6117 for an extended description of this lot.


    More Information:

    These "Memoirs, Correspondence, and Letters of Noted Persons at the Courts of Europe" were selected and translated by Katharine Prescott Wormeley (1830-1908), noted American Civil War nurse and one of the most famous translators in America, best known for her translations of French authors, including the complete works of Honoré de Balzac (1883-1897), the works of Alphonse Daudet (1898-1900), as well as works by Molière and Dumas. "This  series pictures the pageantry of the court at Versailles, Fontainebleau, Marly, and Paris during the reigns of Louis XIII, XIV, XV, and XVI, as related in the original memoirs of noted men and women who lived at court and who were in close touch with the sovereigns and their attaches. It gives a complete and graphic succession of actual events which transpired during these most important reigns. The pages are alive with the figures of statesmen and soldiers, with brilliant adventurers and charming ladies, and with all the wit and wickedness, the splendor and the corruption of these fascinating periods" (publisher's advertisement at the back of another copy of Letters of Mlle. de Lespinasse).

     

    The Versailles Historical Series was originally issued in eight volumes, later growing to eighteen volumes, advertised as "A Series of Memoirs, Correspondence, and Letters of Noted Persons belonging to the different European Courts, giving Graphic Descriptions of Court Life, State Secrets, and Private Sayings and Doings of Royalty and Court Attachés," and comprising: Memoirs of Madame de Motteville on Anne of Austria and Her Court (three volumes); Memoirs of the Duc de Saint-Simon; on the Times of Louis XIV, and the Regency (four volumes); The Correspondence of Madame Princess Palatine, Mother of the Regent; of the Duchesse de Bourgogne; and of Madame de Maintenon (one volume); Journal and Memoirs of the Marquis d'Argenson (two volumes); Memoirs and Letters of Cardinal de Bernis (two volumes); Letters of Mlle. de Lespinasse (one volume); The Prince de Ligne: His Memoirs, Letters, and Miscellaneous Papers (two volumes); Diary and Correspondence of Count Axel Fersen Grand-Marshal of Sweden relating to the Court of France (one volume); The Life and Letters of Madame Élisabeth de France, Sister of Louis XVI (one volume); The Book of the Ladies (Illustrious Dames). By Pierre de Bourdeïlle, Abbé de Brantôme (one volume).


    Charles Joseph, Prince de Ligne (1735-1814). The Prince de Ligne. His Memoirs, Letters, and Miscellaneous Papers Selected and Translated by Katharine Prescott Wormeley. With an Introduction and Preface by C.-A. Sainte-Beuve and Madame de Staël-Holstein. Illustrated with Portraits from the Original. In Two Volumes. Boston: Hardy, Pratt & Company, 1899.

     

    [Volumes XIV and XV of the Versailles Historical Series]. Versailles Edition. No. 118 of 800 numbered copies. Two octavo volumes. vi, 328; vi, 324 pages. Title-pages printed in red and black. Fourteen photogravure portrait plates in Volume I and thirteen in Volume II (including frontispieces), with tissue guards. Each volume with wood-engraved title vignette and one wood-engraved vignette in the text.

     

    Belgian soldier Prince Charles-Joseph de Ligne (1735-1814) distinguished himself in the Seven Years' War (1756-1763), served in the Austrian diplomatic service at various European courts, fought for Russia and Austria in Russo-Turkish War of 1787-1792, and was created field marshal by Catherine II of Russia. The Prince de Ligne was the personal friend of Marie Antoinette, Empress Catherine of Russia, and Joseph II of Austria, and the correspondent of Frederick the Great, Voltaire, Rousseau, Beaumarchais, Goethe, and many other leading figures of the day. These memoirs, letters, and papers are selections from his Mélanges militaires, littéraires et sentimentaires, which was published in thirty-four volumes in 1795-1811.

     

    [Together with:]

     

    René-Louis de Voyer, Marquis d'Argenson (1694-1757). Journal and Memoirs of the Marquis d'Argenson Published from the Autograph MSS. in the Library of the Louvre by E. J. B. Rathery. With an Introduction by C.-A. Sainte-Beuve. Translated by Katharine Prescott Wormeley. Illustrated with Portraits from the Original. In Two Volumes. Boston: Hardy, Pratt & Company, 1901.

     

    [Volumes IX and X of the Versailles Historical Series]. Versailles Edition. No. 118 of 800 numbered copies. Two octavo volumes. x, 401; xi, 381 pages. Title-pages printed in red and black with wood-engraved vignettes. Eight photogravure portrait plates in Volume I and seven in Volume II (including frontispieces), with tissue guards.

     

    René-Louis de Voyer de Paulmy, marquis d'Argenson (1694-1757) was the descendant of a noble family whose members had served the French monarchy for several generations. He served as councilor to the Parlement of Paris (1716), member of the Council of State (1720), royal intendant in the province of Hainaut (1721), and minister of foreign affairs (1744-1747) under Louis XV, when he attempted unsuccessfully to restore French hegemony through a system of international arbitration aimed at Spain, Austria, and Russia.

     

    [And:]

     

    [Julie-Jeanne-Éléonore] de Lespinasse (1732-1776). Letters of Mlle. de Lespinasse. With Notes on Her Life and Character by D'Alembert, Marmontel, De Guibert, etc. and an Introduction by C.-A. Sainte-Beuve. Translated by Katharine Prescott Wormeley. Illustrated with Portraits from the Original. Boston: Hardy, Pratt & Company, 1901.

     

    [Volume XIII of the Versailles Historical Series]. Versailles Edition. No. 118 of 800 numbered copies. Octavo. [8], 342 pages. Title-page printed in red and black with wood-engraved vignette. Eight photogravure portrait plates (including frontispiece), with tissue guards.

     

    French hostess Lespinasse was the natural daughter of the Comtesse d'Albon and companion (1754-1764) to the salonnière Madame du Deffand. In 1764 she founded her own salon in rue Saint-Dominique, which became one of the most brilliant and emancipated Parisian salons, and the center for the writers of the famous Encyclopédie, edited by d'Alembert. She is remembered for her relations with d'Alembert, and her liaisons with the Marquis de Mora and the Comte de Guibert, to the latter of whom were written the Lettres de Mlle de Lespinasse, which give valuable accounts of contemporary life and customs, and caused a literary sensation in France when they were first published in 1809, sparking interest in Lespinasse's life as a salonnière and prolific letter writer.

     

    [And:]

     

    Hans Axel von Fersen, Count (1755-1810). Diary and Correspondence of Count Axel Fersen Grand-Marshal of Sweden relating to the Court of France. Translated by Katharine Prescott Wormeley. Illustrated with Portraits from the Original. Boston: Hardy, Pratt & Company, 1902.

     

    [Volume XVI of the Versailles Historical Series]. Versailles Edition. No. 118 of 800 numbered copies. Octavo. vii, 355 pages. Title-page printed in red and black with wood-engraved vignette. Seven photogravure portrait plates (including frontispiece), with tissue guards, and five pages of facsimiles in the text.

     

    Count Hans Axel von Fersen (1755-1810) was a member of the Swedish nobility, but made his career as a soldier in the French army. He was aide-de-camp to Rochambeau in the American Revolution, resident at the French court at Versailles, and known as an admirer of Marie-Antoinette. Disguised as a coachman, he aided the royal family in an attempt to flee from France in 1791. He was named Earl Marshal of Sweden (1801), adviser to Gustav II during the war with France (1805), and was murdered by a Swedish mob after rumors linked him to the death of the Swedish Crown Prince.



    Auction Info

    Auction Dates
    April, 2015
    8th-9th Wednesday-Thursday
    Bids + Registered Phone Bidders: 0
    Lot Tracking Activity: N/A
    Page Views: 563

    Buyer's Premium per Lot:
    25% on the first $100,000 (minimum $14), plus 20% of any amount between $100,000 and $1,000,000, plus 12% of any amount over $1,000,000 per lot.

    Sold for: Sign-in or Join (free & quick)

    Heritage membership

    Join Now - It's Free

    VIEW BENEFITS
    1. Past Auction Values (prices, photos, full descriptions, etc.)
    2. Bid online
    3. Free Collector newsletter
    4. Want List with instant e-mail notifications
    5. Reduced auction commissions when you resell your
      winnings 
    Consign now
    • Cash Advances
    • More Bidders
    • Trusted Experts
    • Over 200,000 Satisfied Consignors Since 1976
    Consign to the 2020 February 22 - 23 Americana & Political Signature Auction - Dallas.

    Learn about consigning with us

    Heritage has gone above and beyond my expectations in handling all of my transactions in a thoroughly professional manner. I would not hesitate to recommend them to anyone worldwide for the exemplary auction and valuation services they provide.
    Richard H.,
    Corsicana, TX
    View More Testimonials

    HA.com receives more traffic than any other auction house website. (Source: Similarweb.com)

    Video tutorial

    Getting the most out of search

    Recent auctions

    2019 July 16 - 18 The Armstrong Family Collection III Space Exploration Signature Auction - Dallas
    2019 July 16 - 18 The Armstrong Family Collection III Space Exploration Signature Auction - Dallas
    REALIZED SO FAR $4,549,280