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    Description

    Joseph Fourier. Autograph Letter Signed.
    "Joh. Fourier." One page (of a bifolium) in French, 7" x 9.5", Paris; July 30, 1818. In this letter to young French mathematician and physicist Jean-Baptiste Joseph Fourier in Grenoble, Fourier writes that Sarah Thompson, Countess Rumford (1774-1852), the daughter of Count Rumford (1753-1814), intends to visit the Isère Valley and the mountains around Grenoble during the month of August. He asks that Champollion visit Rumford as soon as he hears of her arrival because there can be no better source of travel tips more useful and pleasing than hers. He also writes that he is aware of the cost of a task that he, Fourier, and the other Champollion brother have asked the addressee to carry out, and he knows that the task's motives are self-evident but nevertheless he informs Champollion that there is no personal favor Champollion could do that Fourier would be more pleased about or grateful for.

    Jean-Baptiste Joseph Fourier (1768-1830) was a French mathematician and physicist best known for initiating the investigation of Fourier series and their applications to problems of heat transfer and vibrations. The Fourier transform and Fourier's law are also named in his honor. Fourier is also generally credited with the discovery of the greenhouse effect. He accompanied Napoleon Bonaparte on the Egyptian expedition, which had discovered the Rosetta Stone. An accomplished scholar in addition to a well-known mathematical physicist, Fourier had been entrusted by Napoleon with the publication of the results of the expedition in the monumental series of publications titled Description de l'Égypte.

    Jean-François Champollion (1790-1832) was a French scholar, philologist, and orientalist, known primarily the decipherer of Egyptian hieroglyphs, including the Rosetta Stone, and a founding figure in the field of Egyptology. He was the younger brother of Jacques Joseph Champollion-Figeac (1778-1867), a noted archaeologist. Champollion was often called Champollion le Jeune (the young), as Fourier refers to him in his letter. Later when he became more famous than his older brother, the latter added the town of his birth as a second surname and hence is often referred to as Champollion-Figeac. At age 11, Champollion came to the attention of Fourier, who became one of Champollion's most important allies and supporters, and played an influential role in instilling his interest in Ancient Egypt.

    The letter is accompanied by an engraving of Count Rumford, 3.75" x 4.75" pasted to an 8.25" x 10" thick paper bifolium (which is separating). The engraving of Rumford is by the English engraver William Ridley (1764-1838).

    Condition: Besides the usual folds and some creasing, the letter is in very good condition.


    Auction Info

    Auction Dates
    September, 2019
    4th Wednesday
    Bids + Registered Phone Bidders: 7
    Lot Tracking Activity: N/A
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