A Bibliographical, Antiquarian and Picturesque Tour in France and Germany, Volume Two
by Thomas Frognall Dibdin
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The Abbe BETENCOURT was not unknown to me during his late residence in England, as an Emigre: but he is still-better known to our common friend * * *, who gave me the letter of introduction to Dom Brial. That mutual knowledge brought us quickly together, and made us as quickly intimate. The Abbe is above the middle height; wears his own grey hair; has an expressive countenance, talks much; and well, and at times drolly. Yet his wit or mirth is well attempered to his years. His manner of rallying his venerable friend is very amusing; for Dom Brial, from his deafness, (like most deaf men) drops at times into silence and abstraction. On each of my dinner-visits, it was difficult to say which was the hotter day. But Dom Brial's residence, at the hour of dinner, (which was four—for my own accommodation) happened luckily to be in the shade. We sat down, three, to a small circular table, (in the further or fourth room) on the tiled floor of which was some very ancient wine, within the immediate grasp of the right hand of the host. An elderly female servant attended in the neighbouring room. The dinner was equally simple, relishing, and abundant; and the virtues of the "old wine" were quickly put into circulation by the Benedictin founder of the feast.

At six we rose from table, and walked in the Luxembourg gardens, hard by. The air had become somewhat cooler. The sun was partially concealed by thin, speckled clouds: a gentle wind was rising; and the fragrance of innumerable flowers, from terraces crowded with rose-trees, was altogether so genial and refreshing, that my venerable companions—between whom I walked arm in arm—declared that "they hardly knew when the gardens had smelt so sweetly." We went straight onward—towards the Observatoire, the residence of the Astronomer Royal. In our way thither we could not avoid crossing the Rue d' Enfer, where Marshal Ney was shot. The spot, which had been stained with his blood, was at this moment covered by skittles, and groups of stout lads were enjoying themselves in all directions. It should seem that nothing but youthful sports and pastimes had ever prevailed there: so insensibly do succeeding occupations wear away all traces of the past. I paused for half a minute, casting a thoughtful eye towards the spot. The Abbe Betencourt moralised aloud, and Dom Brial seemed inwardly to meditate. We now reached the Observatory. The Sub-Principal was at home, and was overjoyed to receive his venerable visitors. He was a fellow-townsman of Dom Brial, and we were shewn every thing deserving of notice. It was nearly night-fall, when, on reaching the Rue Servandoni, I wished my amiable companions adieu, till we met again.

I have before mentioned the name of M. GAIL. Let me devote a little more time and attention to him. He is, as you have been also previously told, the curator of the Greek and Latin MSS. in the Royal Library, and a Greek Professor in the College Royale. There is no man, at all alive to a generous and kind feeling, who can deny M. Gail the merit of a frank, benevolent, and hearty disposition. His Greek and Latin studies, for the last thirty-five years, have neither given a severe bias to his judgment, nor repressed the ebullitions of an ardent and active imagination. His heart is yet all warmth and kindness. His fulfilment of the duties of his chair has been exemplary and beneficial; and it is impossible for the most zealous and grateful of her sons, to have the prosperity of the College Royale more constantly in view, than my friend I.B. Gail has that of the University of Paris. His labours, as a scholar, have been rather useful than critical. He has edited Anacreon more than once: and to the duodecimo edition of 1794, is prefixed a small portrait—medallion-wise—of the editor; which, from the costume of dress and juvenility of expression, does not much remind me of the Editor as he now is. M. Gail's great scholastic work is his Greek, Latin, and French, editions of Xenophon and Thucydides, in twenty-four quarto volumes; but in the execution of this performance he suffered himself to be rather led astray by the attractions of the Bibliomania. In other words, he chose to indulge in membranaceous propensities; and nothing would serve M. Gail's turn but he must have a unique COPY UPON VELLUM! in a quarto form.[159] Twenty four quarto volumes upon vellum!.. enough to chill the ardour and drain the purse of the most resolute and opulent publisher.

When I dined with the Editor, the other day, I was shewn these superb volumes with all due form and solemnity: and I must say that they do very great credit to the press of the Elder Didot. Yet I fear that it will be a long time before the worthy M. Gail is remunerated for his enterprising and speculative spirit. In all the duties attached to his situation in the Royal Library, this worthy character is equally correct and commendable. He is never so fully occupied with old Greek and Latin MSS., but that he will immediately attend to your wants; and, as much as depends upon himself, will satisfy them most completely. Anacreon has left behind some little deposit of good humour and urbanity, which has continued to nourish the heart of his Translator; for M. Gail is yet jocose, and mirth-loving; fond of a lively repartee, whether in conversation or in writing. He may count some sixty-two years.

But it is high time to introduce you to another of these "Confreres" at the Bibliotheque du Roi; of whom indeed, hitherto, I have made but a slight mention. You will readily guess that this must be the well-known AUBIN LOUIS MILLIN—the Head of the department of Antiquities; or the principal Archaeologist of the establishment. My friend Mr. Dawson Turner having furnished me with introductory credentials, I called upon M. Millin within twenty-four hours of my arrival at Paris. In consequence, from that time to this, I have had frequent intercourse with him. Indeed I am willing to hope that our acquaintance has well nigh mellowed into friendship. He is a short, spare, man; with a countenance lighted up by intelligence rather than moulded by beauty. But he is evidently just now (and indeed, as I learn, has been for some time past) labouring under severe indisposition. He is the thorough Frenchman both in figure and manners: light, cheerful, active, diligent, and exceedingly good natured and communicative. His apartments are admirably furnished: and his LIBRARY does him infinite honour—considering the limited means by which it has been got together. His abode is the constant resort of foreigners, from all countries, and of all denominations; and the library is the common property of his friends, and even of strangers—when they are well recommended to him.

Millin has been a great traveller; but, if the reports which have reached me prove true, his second voyage to Italy, recently accomplished, have sown the seeds of incurable disease in his constitution. Indeed: when I look at him, at times, I fancy that I discover that in his countenance ... which I wish were not so palpable ... to my observation. His collection of drawings, of fac-similes of all descriptions—of prints and of atlasses—is immense. They are freely laid open to the inspection of any curious observer: and I have already told you how heartily M. Millin begged that Mr. Lewis would consider his house as his home—for the prosecution of his drawings from the illuminated MSS. in the Royal Library, when the regular time of attendance in that place was closed. The other day, we had a superb dejeune a la fourchette at M. Millin's—about three o'clock. It was attended by two Marchionesses, of the bas bleu order; and by the whole corps of the confreres bibliographiques of the Royal Library. Several other literary distingues were of the party: and we sat down, a very agreeable melange, both to gossip and to eat and drink. M. Langles was all animation and all intelligence; and M. Van Praet seemed for a time to have forgotten VELLUM ARISTOTLES and VIRGILS in alternate libations of champagne and noyeau. Meanwhile, the worthy Gail, by his playful sallies and repartees, afforded a striking contrast to the balanced attitude and grave remarks of the respectable Caperonnier, the senior Librarian. Poor Millin himself had no appetite, but picked a little here and there. We sat down about fourteen; rose at six—to coffee and conversazione; and retired shortly after: some to the theatre, and others to their country houses. This is pretty nearly a correct picture of the bettermost society of Paris at this time of the year.

In regard to the literary reputation of MILLIN, I well know that, in England, it is rather the fashion to sneer at him; but this sneer may proceed as often from ignorance, as from superiority of information. The truth is, M. Millin does too much to do every thing well. At one moment, he is busied with a dyptych: at another, he is examining a coin or a medal: during the third, he is lost in admiration over a drawing of a tomb or statue:—his attendant enters with a proof-sheet to engage his fourth moment—and so it goes on—from sunrise to sunset; with pen in hand, or blank or printed paper before him, he is constantly occupied in the pursuit of some archaeological enquiry or other. THIS praise, however—and no mean or unperishable praise it is—most indisputably belongs to him. He was almost the ONLY ONE in France; who, during the reign of terror, bloodshed, and despotism—cherished and kept alive a taste for NATIONAL ANTIQUITIES. But for his perseverance, and the artists employed by him, we should not now have had those graphic representations of many buildings, and relics of art, which have since perished irretrievably. Another praise also belongs to him; of no very insignificant description. He is among the most obliging and communicative of literary Parisians; and does not suffer his good nature to be soured, or his activity to abate, from the influence of national prejudice. He has a large acquaintance among foreigners; and I really think that he loves the English next best to his own countrymen. But whoever applies to him with civility, is sure to be as civilly received. So much for MILLIN.[160]

This group of literary whole lengths would however be imperfect without the introduction of Monsieur LANGLES. The forte of M. Langles consists in his cultivation of, and enthusiastic ardor for, oriental literature. He presides, in fact, over the Persian, Arabic, and other Oriental MSS. and he performs the duties of his office, as a public librarian, with equal punctuality and credit. He has also published much upon the languages of the East, but is considered less profound than DE SACY: although both his conversation and his library attest his predilection for his particular studies. M. Langles is eclipsed by no one for that "gaiete de coeur" which, when joined with good manners and honourable principles, renders a well-bred Frenchman an exceedingly desirable companion. He loves also the arts; as well of sculpture as of painting and of engraving. His further room affords unquestionable evidence of his attachment to English Prints. Wilson, West, and Wilkie—from the burins of Woollett, Raimbach, and Burnet—struck my eye very forcibly and pleasingly. M. Langles admires and speaks our language. "Your charming Wilkie (says he) pleases me more and more. Why does he not visit us? He will at least find here some good proofs of my respect for his talents." Of course he could not mean to pun. I was then told to admire his impression of Woollett's Battle of La Hogue; and indeed I must allow that it is one of the very best which I have seen. He who possesses that, need not distress himself about any of the impressions of the Death of Wolfe; which is also in the collection of Langles.

His library is probably less extensive than Millin's; but it is not less choice and valuable. His collection of books (in which are a great number of our best Voyages and Travels) relating to Asia—and particularly his philological volumes, as connected with the different languages of that country, cannot be too much commended. I saw Sir John Malcolm's History of Persia lying upon his table. "How do you like that work, M. Langles?" "Sir (replied he) I more than like it—I love it: because I love the author." In fact, I knew that Sir John and he were well acquainted with each other, and I believe that the copy in question bore the distinctive mark of being "ex dono auctoris." I have had a good deal of interesting conversation with M. Langles about the history of books during the Revolution; or rather about that of the ROYAL LIBRARY. He told me he was appointed one of the commissioners to attend to the distribution of those countless volumes which were piled up in different warehouses, as the produce of the ransacked monasteries. I am not sure, whether, within the immediate neighbourhood of the Royal Library, he did not say that there were at least half a million of books. At that time, every public meeting of Parisians—whatever might be the professed object—was agitated, and often furious. One of the red-hot demagogues got up in the assembly, and advised "mangling, maiming, or burning the books: they were only fit for cartridges, wadding, or fuel: they were replete with marks of feudalism and royalty—for they had arms or embellishments on them, which denoted them to belong to Aristocrats." This speech made some impression: his comrades were for carrying the motion immediately into execution, by sword and faggot.... But M. Langles rose ... calm, collected, and actuated by feelings a little more accordant with the true spirit of patrotism. "Citizens," said the Orientalist, "we must not do mischief, in the desire of doing good. Let the books remain where they are. If you set fire to them, can you say how far the flames shall extend? Our own great national library, so renowned and celebrated throughout Europe! may become the prey of the devouring element, and then how will you be reproached by posterity! Again—if you convert them to other purposes of destruction, how can you hope to prevent the same example from being followed in other places? The madness of the multitude will make no distinction; and as many pikes and swords may be carried within the great library, as within the various depositories of the monastic books. Pause awhile. Respect those collections of books, and you will both respect yourselves and preserve the great national library. In due time, we shall make a proper selection from them, and enrich the book stores of the capital!" So spake M. Langles; and the Assembly assented to his contre-projet—luckily for Paris and themselves.[161]

But nearly all these worthy characters, of whom I have just made mention, had an opportunity of exhibiting their social qualities, of whatever description, at a sort of FESTIVAL which I gave the other day (last Wednesday) in honour of the Roxburghe Club—which met on that same day, I presume, at the Clarendon Hotel. This Parisian Roxburghe Banquet went off upon the whole with flying colours. You shall know as much about it as is likely to interest you. Having secured my guests, (Messrs. DENON, GAIL, LANGLES, VAN PRAET and MILLIN) and fixed both the place and hour of repast, I endeavoured to dress out a little bill of fare of a bibliomaniacal description—to rival, in its way, that of Mons. Grignon, in the Rue Neuve des Petits Champs, (within two minutes walk of the Royal Library,) where we were to assemble, at five o'clock. I knew that Millin would put my toasts or sentiments into good French, and so I took courage against the hour of meeting. I had secured a ground-floor apartment, looking upon a lawn, with which it communicated by open doors. The day was unusually hot and oppressive. After finishing my labours at the Royal Library, I returned to my hotel, arranged my little matters connected with the by-play of the festival—dressed—and resorted to Grignon's. Every thing looked well and auspiciously. Our room was in the shade; and a few lingering breezes seemed to play beneath the branches of an acacia. The dark green bottles, of various tapering shapes, were embedded in pails of ice, upon the table: and napkins and other goodly garniture graced the curiously woven cloth. I hung up, in the simplicity of my heart—over the seat which I was to occupy,— the portrait of John King of France, which M. Coeure had just finished;— not considering that this said John had been beaten and taken prisoner, at the battle of Poictiers by our Black Prince! Never was a step more injudicious, or an ornament more unappropriate. However, there it hung throughout the day. A dinner of the very best description, exclusively of the wine, was to be served up for twelve francs a head. I make no doubt but the Club paid a little more where they assembled in London!

At length came the hour of dinner, and with the hour the guests. I requested Brother Van Praet to be deputy chairman; and taking my seat beneath the unfortunate John King of France, gave the signal for a general attack—upon whatever was placed before the guests. Monsieur Denon, however, did not arrive till after the first course. He had been detained by a visit from the Duke of Bedford. M. Millin sat at my right hand, and M. Gail at my left. The first course consisted chiefly of fruit, and slices of anchovy, crossed. A large paper copy of a melon cut a magnificent appearance in the centre; but all this quickly gave way to fish, flesh, and fowl of a various but substantial description. Poor Millin had no appetite, and would only carve. He looked particularly ill. The rest ate, drank, and were merry. The desert was of the very best quality: and this was succeeded by the introduction of a little of English fashion and manners. We drank toasts, connected with the object of the day's festival; and never were a set of guests more disposed to relish both the wine and the sentiment which accompanied each glass. They even insisted upon a "three times three" for "Lord Spencer and the Club!" But if we were merry, we were wise. Shortly after dinner, M. Gail rose, as if in a moment of inspiration, from his seat—and recited the Latin verses which are here enclosed.[162] They will at least make you admire the good humour of the poet. He afterwards chanted a song: his own literal version of the XIXth ode of Anacreon, beginning [Greek: He ge melaina pinei]. The guests declared that they had never sat so long at table, or were more happy. I proposed a stroll or a seat upon the lawn. Chairs and benches were at hand; and we requested that the coffee might be brought to us out of doors. It was now after sun-set; and a lurid sky was above our head. Our conversation was desultory as to topics, but animated as to manner. I had never witnessed M. Van Praet more alive to social disquisition. We talked of books, of pictures, and of antiquities... and I happened, with the same witless simplicity which had pinned the portrait of King John over my seat at dinner, to mention that volume, of almost unparalleled rarity, ycleped the Fables of Pfister, printed at Bamberg in 1461:—which they had recently RESTORED to the Wolfenbuttel Library! It was "more than enough" for the acute feelings of the devoted head-librarian. M. Van Praet talked with legs and arms, as well as with tongue, in reply to my observations upon the extraordinary worth and singular rarity of that singular volume. "Alas, Sir, nothing pained me more. Truly—"Here a smart flash of lightning came across us—which illumined our countenances with due effect: for it had been sometime past almost wholly dark, and we had been talking to each other without perceiving a feature in our respective faces. M. Langles joined in M. Van Praet's lamentation; and the Baron Denon, who (as I learnt) had been the means of obtaining that identical precious volume, united his tones of commiseration with those of his brethren.

The lightning now became more frequent, and in larger flashes—but neither sharp nor very dazzling. Meanwhile the notes of a skilfully touched harp were heard from one of the windows of a neighbouring house, with a mingled effect which it was difficult to describe. Pfister, books, busts, and music, now wholly engrossed our attention—and we were absolutely enveloped in blue lightning. We had continued our discourse till towards midnight, had not the rain come down in a manner equally sudden and severe. It was one of the heaviest showers which I remember to have witnessed. The storm was directly in the centre of Paris, and over our heads. We retreated precipitately to the deserted banqueting room; and had a reinforcement of coffee. After such a series of melting hot weather, I shall not easily forget the refreshing sweetness emitted from every shrub upon the lawn. About ten o'clock, we thought of our respective homes.[163] I went into another room to pay the reckoning; liberated King John from his second confinement; shook hands very heartily with my guests—and returned to my lodgings by no means out of humour or out of heart with the day's entertainment. Whether they have been more rational, or more economical, in the celebration of the same festival, AT HOME, is a point, which I have some curiosity, but no right, to discuss. Certainly they could not have been happier.

Having come to the conclusion of my account of the ROXBURGHE BANQUET, and it being just now hard upon the hour of midnight, I must relinquish my correspondent for my pillow. A good night.

[156] He died on the 24th of May, 1828; on the completion of his 85th year. See the next note but one.

[157] The reader may be amused with the following testy note of my vigilant translator, M. Crapelet: the very Sir Fretful Plagiary of the minor tribe of French critics! "Cette phrase, qui n'est pas Francaise, est ainsi rapportee par l'auteur. M. l'Abbe Betencourt, aura dit a peu pres: "Il mourra sans laisser d'eleve." M. Dibdin qui parle et entend fort bien le Francais, EST IL EXCUSABLE DE FAIRE MAL PARLER UN ACADEMICIEN FRANCAIS, et surtout de rendre vicieuses presque toutes les phrases qu'il veut citer textuellement? L'exactitude! l'exactitude! C'est la premiere vertu du bibliographe; on ne saurait trop le repeter a M. Dibdin." CRAPELET. vol. iv. 124. Quaere tamen? Ought not M. Crapelet to have said "il mourrira?" The sense implies the future tense: But ... how inexpiable the offence of making a French Academician speak bad French!!—as if every reader of common sense would not have given me, rather than the Abbe Betencourt, credit for this bad speaking?

[158] [In a short, and pleasing, memoir of him, in the Revue Encyclopedique, 115th livraison, p. 277, &c. it is well and pleasantly observed, that, "such was his abstraction from all surrounding objects and passing events, he could tell you who was Bishop of such a diocese, and who was Lord of such a fief, in the XIIth century, much more readily, and with greater chance of being correct, than he would, who was the living Minister of the Interior, or who was the then Prefect of the department of the Seine?" By the kindness of a common friend, I have it in my power to subjoin a fac-simile of the autograph of this venerable Departed:]


[159] The Thucydides was published first; in twelve volumes 8vo. VOL. II. 1807; with various readings, for the first time, from thirteen MSS. not before submitted to the public eye. The French version, in four volumes, with the critical notes of the Editor, may be had separately. The VELLUM 4to. copy of the Thucydides consists of fourteen volumes; but as the volumes are less bulky than those of the Xenophon, they may be reduced to seven. The Xenophon was published in 1809, in seven volumes, 4to. The Latin version is that of Leunclavius; the French version and critical notes are those of M. Gail. The vellum copy, above alluded to, is divided into ten volumes; the tenth being an Atlas of fifty-four maps. Some of these volumes are very bulky from the thickness of the vellum.

Upon this unique copy, M. Gail submitted to me, in writing, the following remarks. "Of the Xenophon, two vellum copies were printed; but of these, one was sent to the father of the present King of Spain, and received by him in an incomplete state—as the Spanish Ambassador told M. Gail: only six volumes having reached the place of their destination. The Editor undertakes to give authenticated attestations of this fact." "If," say M. Gail's written observations, "one considers that each sheet of vellum, consisting of eight pages, cost five francs ten sous, and three more francs in working off—and that skins of vellum were frequently obliged to be had from foreign countries, owing to the dearth of them at Paris—whereby the most extravagant demands were sometimes obliged to be complied with—add to which, that fifteen years have passed away since these sums were paid down in hard cash,—the amount of the original expenses is doubled." The volumes are in stout boards, and preserved in cases. In one of his letters to me, respecting the sale of his vellum copy—the worthy Professor thus pleasantly remarks: "Je ne veux pas m'enricher avec ce livre qui, lorsque je serai cendres, aura un bien grand prix. Je n'ai que le desir de me debarrasser d'une richesse qui m'est a charge, et ne convient nullement a un modeste et obscur particulier, comme moi." I subjoin the autograph of this worthy and learned Professor: hoping yet to shake the hand heartily which guided the pen.


[160] M. Millin DIED about the middle of the following month, ere I had reached Vienna. His library was sold by auction in May 1819, under the superintendence of Messrs. Debure, who compiled the sale catalogue. It produced 53,626 francs. The catalogue contained 2556 articles or numbers; of which several were very long sets. One article alone, no. 866., consisted of 326 volumes in folio, quarto, and octavo. It is thus designated, "RECUEIL DE PIECES SUR LES ARTS, LA LITTE'RATURE, LES ANTIQUITE'S, en Latin, en Italien, et en Francois. This article produced 4501 francs, and was purchased by the Grand Duke of Tuscany. Millin had brought up from boyhood, and rescued from poverty and obscurity, a lad of the name of Mention. This lad lived with him many years, in the capacity of a valet and private secretary. In his second and last voyage to Italy, Millin declined taking him with him, but left him at home, in his house, with a salary of fifty francs per month. Five months after his departure, in February, 1812, a great quantity of smoke was seen issuing from the windows of Millin's apartments. Several people rushed into the room. They found the drawings and loose papers taken from the portfolios, rolled up lightly, and the room on fire at the four corners! A lighted candle was placed in the middle of the room. Suspicion immediately fell upon Mention. They ran to his bed chamber: found the door fastened: burst it open—and saw the wretched valet weltering in his blood ... yet holding, in his-right hand, the razor with which he had cut his throat! He was entirely dead. Millin's collection of Letters from his numerous Correspondents perished in the flames.

This accident, which also deprived Millin of a fund of valuable materials that he was preparing for a Dictionary of the Fine Arts, and for a Recueil de Pieces gravees Inedites—might have also had an infinitely more fatal tendency: as it occurred within the walls which contain the ROYAL LIBRARY! Millin received the news of this misfortune, in Italy, with uncommon fortitude and resignation. But this second voyage, as has been already intimated, (see p. 260) hastened his dissolution. He planned and executed infinitely too much; and never thoroughly recovered the consequent state of exhaustion of body and mind. As he found his end approaching, he is reported to have said—"I should like to have lived longer, in order to have done more good—but God's will be done! I have lived fifty-nine years, the happiest of men—and should I not be ungrateful towards Providence, if I complained of its decrees?!" And when still nearer his latter moments—he exclaimed: "I have always lived, and I die, a Frenchman: hating no one: complaining only of those who retard the cause of reason and truth. I have never, intentionally, hurt a single creature. If I have injured any one, I ask pardon of him for the error of my understanding." He died on the 18th of August, and his body was interred in the churchyard of Pere la Chaise. His old friend and colleague, M. GAIL, pronounced a funeral discourse over his grave—in which, as may be well supposed, his feelings were most acutely excited. I subjoin a facsimile of Millin's autograph: from the richly furnished collection of Mr. Upcott, of the London Institution.

[Autograph: A.L. Millin]

[161] [Mons. Langles survived the above account between five and six years; dying January 28, 1824. His Library was sold by auction in March, 1825. It was copious and highly creditable to his memory. From the source whence the preceding autograph was derived, I subjoin the following autograph.

[Autograph: L Langles]

[162] Monsieur Millin had been before hand in his description of this day's festival, but his description was in prose. It appeared in the Annales Encyclopediques, for the ensuing month, July, 1818, and was preceded by a slight historical sketch of the Club, taken chiefly from the Bibliographical Decameron. His account of the festival may amuse some of my readers, who have not been accustomed to peruse English toasts cloathed in French language. It is briefly thus:

"Pendant que les membres du Roxburghe Club celebroient le 17 juin 1818 la memoire des premiers imprimeurs de Boccace, a Venise et en Angleterre, sous la presidence de sa grace lord Spencer; M. Dibdin, vice-president, s'unissoit a ce banquet bibliographique par une repetition qu'il en faisoit a Paris. Il avoit appele a ce banquet M. DENON, a qui la France doit encore une grande partie des manuscrits et des editions rares dont elle s'est enrichie, et plusieurs conservateurs de la bibliotheque royale, MM. VANPRAET, LANGLE'S, GAIL, et MILLIN. On pense bien que l'histoire litteraire, la bibliographie, devinrent un inepuisable sujet pour la conversation. L'entretien offrit un melange de gaite et de gravite qui convient aux banquets des muses; et selon l'adage antique, les convives etoient plus que trois et moins que neuf. M. Gail lut sur cette reunion des vers latins, dont les toasts bruyans ne permirent pas de savourer d'abord tout le sel et l'esprit. Ils doivent etre imprimes dans l'Hermes Romanus.

"M.D., amphitryon et president du festin, porta, comme il convenoit, les premiers toasts:

1 deg.. A la sante de milord Spencer et des honorables membres du Roxburghe Club. 2 deg.. A la memoire de Christophe Valdarfer, inprimeur du Boccace de 1471; livre dont l'acquisition fait par le duc de Marlborough, fut l'occasion de la fondation du Roxburghe Club. 3 deg.. A la memoire immortelle de Guillaume Caxton, premier imprimeur anglois. 4 deg.. A la gloire de la France. 5 deg.. A l'union perpetuelle de la France et de l'Angleterre. 6 deg.. A la prosperite de la bibliotheque royale de France. 7 deg.. A la sante de ses dignes conservateurs, dont le savoir est inepuisable, et dont l'obligeance ne se lasse jamais. 8 deg.. A la propagation des sciences, des arts, des lettres, et de la bibliomanie. 9 deg.. Au desir de se revoir le meme jour chaque annee.

"Les convives ont rendu ces toasts par un autre qu'ils ont porte, avec les hurras et les trois fois d'usage en Angleterre, au vice-president du Roxburghe-Club, qui leur avoit fait l'honneur de les rassembler.

"La Seance a fini a l'heure ou le president du Roxburghe-Club leve celle de Londres; et le vice-president, M. Dibdin, a soigneusement reuni les bouchons, pour les porter en Angleterre comme un signe commemoratif de cet agreable banquet."[E]

The verses of Monsieur Gail were as follow:—but I should premise that he recited them with zest and animation.

Auspice jam Phaebo, SPENCEROQUE AUSPICE, vestrum Illa renascentis celebravit gaudia lucis Concilium, stupuit quondam qua talibus emptus Boccacius cunctorum animis, miratus honores Ipse suos, atque ipsa superbiit umbra triumpho. Magna quidem lux illa, omni lux tempore digna. Cui redivivus honos et gloria longa supersit Atque utinam ex vobis unus, vestraeque fuissem Laetitiae comes, et doctae conviva trapezae. Sed nune invitorque epulis, interque volentes Gallus Apollinea sedeo quasi lege Britannos.

Arridet D***: habet nos una voluptas. Me quoque librorum meministis amore teneri, Atque virum studiis, quos Gallia jactat alumnos: Nam si Caxtonio felix nunc Anglia gaudet, Non minus ipsa etiam Stephanorum nomina laudat. Hic nonnulla manent priscae vestigia famae. Nobis Thucydides, Xenophon quoque pumice et auro, Quem poliit non parca manus; felicior ille Si possit ...[F] melius conjungere Musas! [Greek: Koina ta panta philon] perhibent: at semper amici Quidquid doctorum est: tantis ego laetor amicis. AEternum haec vigeat concordia pocula firment Artesque et libri, quae nectant foedera reges, Utramque et socient simul omnia vincula gentem.


Lector regius in biblioth. regia codd. gr. et lat. praefectus.

While one of the London morning newspapers (which shall be here nameless) chose to convert this harmless scene of festive mirth into a coarse and contemptible attack upon its author, the well-bred Bibliomanes of Paris viewed it with a different feeling, and drew from it a more rational inference. It was supposed, by several gentlemen of education and fortune, that a RIVAL SOCIETY might be established among themselves—partaking in some degree of the nature of that of the ROXBURGHE, although necessarily regulated by a few different laws.

Taking the regulations of the ROXBURGHE CLUB (as laid down in the Ninth Day of the Decameron) as the basis, they put together a code of laws for the regulation of a similar Society which they chose, very aptly, to call LES BIBLIOPHILES. Behold then, under a new name, a Parisian Roxburghe Society. When I visited Paris, in the summer, of 1819, I got speedily introduced to the leading Members of the club, and obtained, from M. DURAND DE LANCON, (one of the most devoted and most efficient of the members) that information—which is here submitted to the public: from a persuasion that it cannot be deemed wholly uninteresting, or out of order, even by the most violent enemies of the cause." The object of this Society of the BIBLIOPHILES must be expressed in the proper language of the country. It is "pour nourrir, relever, et faire naitre meme la passion de la Bibliomanie." I put it to the conscience of the most sober-minded observer of men and things—if any earthly object can be more orthodox and legitimate? The Society meet, as a corporate body, twice in the year: once in April, the second time in December; and date the foundation of their Club from the 1st of January 1820. Whatever they print, bears the general title of "Melanges;"[G] but whether this word will be executed in the black-letter, lower-case, or in roman capitals, is not yet determined upon. One or two things, however, at starting, cannot fail to be premised; and indeed has been already observed upon—as a species of heresy. The Society assemble to a "dejeune a la fourchette," about twelve o'clock: instead of to a "seven o'clock dinner," as do the London Roxburghers: whereby their constitutions and pockets are less affected. The other thing, to observe upon, is, that they do not print (and publish among themselves) such very strange, and out-of-the way productions, as do the London Roxburghers. For truly, of some of the latter, it may be said with the anonymous poet in the Adversaria of Barthius,

Verum haec nee puer edidici, nee tradita patre Accepi, nee Aristotelis de moribus umquam Librum, aut divini Platonis dogmata legi. Edit. Fabri. 1624, col. 345, vol. i.

And why is it thus? Because these reprints are occasionally taken (quoting Caspar Barthius himself, in the xxth chapter of his iid book of Adversaria, Edit. Ead.) "ex libro egregie obscuro et a blattis tineisque fere confecto." But, on the other hand, they are perfectly harmless:

Sweet without soure, and honny without gall:

as Spenser observes in his Colin Clout's come home again: edit. 1595: sign. E.F. Or, as is observed in Les Illustrations de France, edit. 1513, 4to. litt. goth.:

Le dedens nest, ne trop cler, ne trop brun, Mais delectable a veoir...comme il me semble. Sign. Cii. rev.

A genuine disciple of the Roxburghe Club will always exclaim "delectable a veoir" let the contents of the book be "cler," or "brun." Nor will such enthusiastic Member allow of the epithets of "hodg-podge, gallimaufry, rhapsody," &c. which are to be found in the "Transdentals General," of Bishop Wilkins's famous "Essay towards a real character and a philosophical language:" edit. 1668, fol. p. 28—as applicable to his beloved reprints! I annex the names of the Members of the Societe des Bibliophiles, as that club was first established.

1. Le Marquis de Chateaugiron, President. 2. Guilbert de Pixerecours, Secretaire. 3. Le Chevalier Walckenaer, Membre de l'Institut, Tresorier. 4. Alph. de Malartic, Maitre des Requetes. 5. Durand de Lancon. 6. Edouard de Chabrol. 7. Berard, Maitre des Requetes. 8. Le Vcte. de Morel-Vinde, Pair de France. 9. Madame la Duchesse de Raguse, (par courtoisie.) 10. Pensier. 11. Comte Juste de Noailles. 12. Le Baron Hely d'Oisel, Conseiller d'etat. 13. Le Marquis Scipion du Nocere, Officier Superieur du Garde du Corps. 14. Hippolyte de la Porte. 15. De Monmerque, Conseiller a la Cour Royale. 16. Coulon, a Lyon. 17. Le Duc de Crussol. 18. Le Comte d'Ourches, a Nancy. 19. Le Chevalier Langles, Membre de l'Institut. 20. Duriez, a Lille. 21. Le Marquis Germain Garnier, Pair de France. 22. Monsieur le Chevalier Artaud, Secretaire d' Ambass. a Rome.

It remains to conclude this, I fear unconscionably long, note, as the above letter is concluded, with the mention of ANOTHER BANQUET. This banquet was given by the Bibliophiles to the NOBLE PRESIDENT of the Roxburghe Club, when the latter was at Paris in the Spring of the year 1820. The Vice-President of the Roxburghe Club, who happened at the same time to be at Paris, also received the honour of an invitation. The festival took place at Beauvilliers', the modern Apicius of Parisian restorateurs. About twelve guests sat down to table. The Marquis de Chateaugiron was in the chair. They assembled at six, and separated at half-past nine. All that refinement and luxury could produce, was produced on the occasion. Champagnes of different tints, and of different qualities—lively like M. Langles, or still like Monsieur ****; fish, dressed as they dress it a la Rocher de Cancale— poultry, and pastry—varied in form, and piquant in taste—but better, and more palatable than either, conversation—well regulated and instructive—mingled with the most respectful attention to the ILLUSTRIOUS GUEST for whom the banquet had been prepared—gave a charm and a "joyaunce" to the character of that festival—which will not be easily effaced from the tablets of the narrator's memory. Where all shine pretty equally, it seems invidious to particularise. Yet I may be allowed to notice the hearty urbanity of the Marquis, the thorough good humour and bibliomaniacal experience of the Comte d'Ourches, (who, ever and anon, would talk about an edition of Virgil's Pastorals printed by Eggesteyn) the vivacious sallies of the Chevalier Langles, the keen yet circumspect remarks of the Comte Noailles, the vigilant attention and toast-stirring propensities of M.D. de Lancon, the Elzevirian enthusiasm of M. Berard, the ... But enough ... "Claudite jam rivos pueri—sat prata biberunt."

[E] These Corks are yet (1829) in my possession: preserved in an old wooden box, with ribs of iron, of the time of Louis XI.

[F] The word here in the original is not clear.

[G] [They have now published FOUR VOLUMES, in royal 8vo. of singular beauty and splendour: but the fourth vol. falls far short of its precursors in the intrinsic value of its contents. The first volume is so scarce, as to have brought L20. at a sale in Paris. I possess the three latter vols. only, by the kindness of the Society, in making me, with Earl Spencer, an Honorary Associate.]

[163] [The Reader must not break up with the party, until he has cast his eye upon the autograph of an Individual, of as high merit and distinction in the department which he occupies, as any to which he has yet been introduced. It only remains to say—it is the autograph of Mons.




All the world has heard of the famous DENON, the Egyptian traveller; and editor of the great work of the Antiquities of Egypt, published in 1802, in two sumptuous folio volumes. As you possess a copy of the French work,[164] with choice impressions of the plates, I need say nothing further upon the subject—except that I believe it to be one of the very finest works of the kind, which has ever appeared ... on the score of art. But the author has other claims to attention and popularity. He was an intimate friend—and certainly the confidential adviser—of Buonaparte, in all public schemes connected with the acquisition of pictures and statues: and undoubtedly he executed the task confided to him with ability. He was verging oh his sixtieth year, when he started with his master upon the Egyptian expedition—a proof at least of energy, as well as of good disposition, in the cause. But Denon has been a great European traveller: he has had access to private, as well as to public, cabinets; and has brought home some rich fruits of his enterprise and taste.

His house, on the Quai Malaquais, is the rendezvous of all the English of any taste—who have respectable letters of introduction; and I must do him the justice to say, that, never did a man endure the inconveniences which must frequently result from keeping such open house, with greater adroitness and good humour than does the Baron Denon. I have sometimes found his principal rooms entirely filled by my countrymen and countrywomen; and I once, from the purest accident, headed a party of twenty-two ... in which were three British officers, and more than that number of members of either University. I will fairly own that, on receiving us, he drew me quietly aside, and observed:—"Mon ami, quand vous viendrez une autre fois, ne commandez pas, je vous prie, une armee si nombreuse. Je m'imaginois encore en Egypte." What was still more perplexing, we found there a party of English as numerous as ourselves. It was thus, however, that he rebuked my indiscretion.

We had twice exchanged visits and cards before we met. The card of Denon was worth possessing, from the simple, unaffected modesty which it evinced. You merely read the word DENON upon it!... The owner of the collection which I am about to describe, is certainly "un peu passe" as to years; but he has a cheerful countenance, with the tint of health upon it; small, gray, sparkling eyes, and teeth both regular and white.[165] He is generally dressed in black, and always as a gentleman. His figure, not above the middle height, is well formed; and his step is at once light and firm. There is doubtless a good deal which is very prepossessing in his manners. As he understands nothing of the English language, he can of course neither read nor speak it.

It is now time to give you some idea of this curious collection. You ascend a lofty and commodious stone staircase (not very common in Paris) and stop at the first floor:—another comfort, also very rare in Paris. This collection is contained in about half a dozen rooms: lofty, airy, and well furnished. The greater number of these rooms faces the Seine. The first contains a miscellaneous assemblage of bronze busts, and pictures of Teniers, Watteau, and of the more modern School of Paris. Of these, the Watteau is singular, rather than happy, from its size.[166] The two Teniers are light, thin, pictures; sketches of pigs and asses; but they are very covetable morsels of the artist.[167] In a corner, stands the skeleton of a female mummy in a glass case, of which the integuments are preserved in a basket. This is thought to be equally precious and uncommon. M. Denon shews the foot of the figure (which is mere bone and muscle) with amazing triumph and satisfaction. He thinks it is as fine as that of the Venus de Medicis, but there is no accounting for tastes. Among the busts is one of West, of Neckar, and of Denon himself: which latter I choose here to call "Denon the First." The second room contains a very surprising, collection of Phoenician, Egyptian, and other oriental curiosities: and in a corner, to the left, is a set of small drawers, filled with very interesting medals of eminent characters, of all descriptions, chiefly of the sixteenth century. Above them is a portrait of the owner of the collection—which I choose to call "Denon the Second." This room exhibits a very interesting melange. Over the fire place are some busts; of which the most remarkable are those of Petrarch and Voltaire; the former in bronze, the latter in terra-cotta; each of the size of life. Voltaire's bust strikes me as being the best representation of the original extant. It is full of character; a wonderful mixture of malignity, wit, and genius.[168]

The third room is the largest, and the most splendidly hung with pictures. Of these, the circular little Guercino—a holy family—is, to my poor judgment, worth the whole.[169] The Rysdael and Both are very second rate. As you approach the fire-place, your attention is somewhat powerfully directed to a small bronze whole length figure of Buonaparte—leaning upon a table, with his right hand holding a compass, and his left resting upon his left thigh.[170] Some charts, with a pair of compasses, are upon the table; and I believe this represents him in his cabin, on his voyage to Egypt. Is there any representation of him, in the same situation, upon his return? However, it is an admirable piece of workmanship. In this room is also (if I remember rightly) the original colossal head of the ex-emperor, when a young man, in white marble, by CANOVA. But I must not omit informing you that here is also another portrait, in oil, of the owner of the collection—which, if you please, we will call "Denon the Third." You next enter a narrow, boudoir-shaped apartment, which contains, to my taste, the most curious and precious morsels of art which the Baron Denon possesses. They are specimens of the earlier schools of painting, commencing with what are called Giottos and Cimabues—down to a very striking modern picture of a group of children, by a late French artist, just before the time of our Reynolds. This latter you would really conceive to have been the production of Sir Joshua himself. Of the specimens of the earlier schools, I was most struck with the head of PISANI, the inventor of medals—of the fifteenth century—painted by Antonello da Messina, a pupil of John Van Eyk. It is full of nature and of character. I could not get away from it. "Is it possible to obtain a copy of this picture?"—said I to its owner. "I understand you, (replied Denon) you wish to carry that copy to your own country. And to have it engraved there?" ... "Most unquestionably"—resumed I. "It is at your service (he rejoined); Laurent will copy it admirably." I hardly knew how to thank Mons. Denon sufficiently.[171]

There was another head ...but "non omnia possumus omnes." I mean, one of a female in profile, by MASACCIO. It was full of expression.[172] "What, (said its owner,) must you have an engraving of that head also? It is bespoke; by myself. In short, every thing which you behold in these rooms (including even your favourite Pisani) will be lithographised for the publication of my own collection." Of course, after this declaration, I was careful of what I did or said. "But there was yet one thing in this collection—of which, as I saw such a variety, he could not refuse me a copy." "What might that be?" "A portrait of HIMSELF: from marble, from oil, or from enamel." "Take your choice: he replied: "faites ce que vous voulez,"—and it was agreed that M. Laguiche should make a drawing of the bust, in white marble, (I think the sculptor's name is Bosio) which is indeed very like him.[173] There is also a large and beautiful enamel of Denon, full dressed with all his orders, by Augustin; perhaps the most perfect specimen of that artist which France possesses. It is the work of several years past, when Denon had more flesh upon his cheek, and more fire in his eye. We may therefore say that this room contains "Denon the Fourth, and Denon the Fifth!"

In the same room you observe a very complete specimen of a papyrus inscription; brought from Egypt. Indeed the curiosities brought from that country (as might naturally be supposed) are numerous and valuable. But my attention was directed to more understandable objects of art. Opposite to the bust of Denon, is one of his late master, the ex-Emperor, in bronze: and above this latter, is a small picture, by Lucas Cranach, of a man with a bag of money tempting a young woman: full of character, and singularly striking. This room—or the one adjoining, I have forgotten which—contains M. Denon's collection of the prints of MARC ANTONIO or of REMBRANDT—or of both; a collection, which is said to be unequalled.[174] Whether the former be more precious than the latter, or whether both be superior to what our British Museum contains of the same masters, is a point which has not yet been fairly determined. But I asked, one morning, for a glimpse of the Rembrandts. We were alone; just after we had breakfasted together. M. Denon commenced by shewing me two different states of the Coach Landscape, and the two great Coppinols with white grounds—each varying somewhat!!! "Enough," cried I—holding up both hands,—"you beat all in England and all in France!"

From hence you pass into a fourth room, which is M. Denon's bed-chamber. About the fire-place are numerous little choice bits of the graphic art. Two small Watteaus, in particular, are perfectly delicious;[175] as well as a very small Sebastian Bourdon; of a holy family. In a corner, too much darkened, is a fine small portrait of Parmegiano in profile: full of expression—and, to the best of my recollection, never engraved. These are, I think, the chief bijoux in the bed-room; except that I might notice some ancient little bronzes, and an enamel or two by Petitot. You now retrace your steps, and go into a fifth room, which has many fair good pictures, of a comparatively modern date; and where, if I mistake not, you observe at least one portrait in oil of the master of the premises. This therefore gives us "Denon the Seventh!" It is here that the master chiefly sits: and he calls it his workshop. His drawers and port-folios are, I think, filled with prints and old-drawings: innumerable, and in the estimation of the owner, invaluable. You yet continue your route into a further room,— somewhat bereft of furniture, or en dishabille. Here, among other prints, I was struck with seeing that of the late Mr. Pitt; from Edridge's small whole length. The story attached to it is rather singular. It was found on board the first naval prize (a frigate) which the French made during the late war; and the Captain begged Monsieur Denon's acceptance of it. Here were also, if I remember rightly, prints of Mr. Fox and Lord Nelson; but, as objects of art, I could not help looking with admiration—approaching to incredulity—upon three or four large prints, after Rembrandt and Paul Potter, which M. Denon assured me were the production of his burin! I could scarcely believe it. Whatever be the merits of Denon, as a critical judge of art, ancient or modern, there is no person, not wholly blinded by prejudice, or soured by national antipathies, that can deny him great zeal, great talent, and great feeling ... in the several pursuits of art, of which his apartments furnish such splendid evidence.

But, you may be disposed to add, "has this celebrated man no collection of Books?—no LIBRARY? At least he must have a missal or two?" 'Tis even so, my friend. Library, he has none: for as "one swallow does not make a summer," so three or four pretty little illuminated volumes do not constitute a library. However, what he has of this kind, has been freely exhibited to me; and I here send you a transscript of some notes taken upon the spot.

I was first shewn a small missal, prettily executed in a gothic type, of the Italian form, after the models of those of Jenson and Hailbrun. The calendar has the paintings injured. On the reverse of the last leaf of the Calendar, we read, in roman capitals, the following impressive annotation: DEUM TIME, PAUPERES SUSTINE, MEMENTO FINIS. On the reverse of the ensuing leaf, is a large head of Christ, highly coloured: but with the lower part of the face disproportionately short: not unlike a figure of a similar kind, in the Duke of Devonshire's Missal, described on a former occasion.[176] The crucifixon, on the next leaf but one, is full of spirit and effect. Then commence the Drolleries: or a series of subjects most whimsically conceived, but most sweetly touched and finished. You cannot imagine any thing more perfect of their kind and for their size, than are the beasts, birds, insects, fruits, and flowers. The vellum harmonises admirably, from its colour and quality. There are several comparatively large illuminations: some with very small figures; and two (one of St. John the Baptist, and the other of Christ mocked) are of great beauty in respect to force of colour. The initial capitals are executed with equal attention to taste in composition, and delicacy in colouring. This diminutive volume is only four inches high, by about two inches and three quarters wide. It is bound in red velvet, and mounted with silver knobs, with heads of cherubim upon them. It is fastened by a silver clasp; upon which is painted, and glazed, a head of Christ—of the time, as I conceive. M. Denon told me he bought this little gem of a bookseller in Italy, for 400 francs.

He has another Missal, about half an inch wider and taller, in the binding of the time, with stamped ornaments. This exhibits flowers, fruits, and birds, in the margins; touched with great delicacy and truth. Some of the borders have a gold ground, shaded with brown, upon which the fruit is richly brought out in relief: others have human figures; and the border, encircling the temptation of our first Parents, has nothing superior to it—and is really worth an engraved fac-simile: but not in lithography! It is on the forty-fifth leaf. One of the heads, in the border, is like that of our Edward VI. The third illuminated ms. volume, in M. Denon's possession, is probably the most valuable. It is a quarto, written in the Spanish language, and bearing the date of 1553. The scription is in red and black letters, alternately. This book contains several large illuminations, and coloured borders; and I was told, by its owner, that it was the very book upon which the OATHS OF INITIATION INTO THE SPANISH INQUISITION were administered. Its condition is most perfect. The first large illumination represents a Saint, with his scull divided by a sword, and blood streaming copiously from him: a palm, with three crowns, is in his right hand; a book is in his left: at top we read "Exsurge Domine, et judica Causam tuam." The Saint is surrounded by a border of fruits and flowers. It is the principal embellishment in the volume. This book is in its original, black leather, stamped binding, with knobs and clasps. A marginal note thus remarks: "ynoscan obligados asseruier cargome off^o. de ella salbo si de su voluntad loquisier en servi."

In my last visit to Denon,[177] I met with ANDRIEU; a name which reflects lustre upon the Fine Arts. As a medallist, he has no equal, nor perhaps ever had any, among the French. Our own SIMON enables us to oppose to him a rival of great and unquestionable talents; but we have slept soundly, both in the medallic and numismatic art, since the time of Cromwell: except that we were shook a little out of our slumbers during the reigns of Anne and George I. Andrieu has more of the pure Greek feeling about him, than Simon ever evinced: and prefers executing his hair more in masses than in detail. He is therefore on this head, a copyist; but he transfuses into the countenance that soul and intelligence which we delight to contemplate, and which we are prompt to own, in the countenances upon Greek coins. The series of Bonaparte-Medals are, almost entirely, I believe, the work of his hand. But every head is safe with Andrieu. He had just brought a medal of the present King (Louis XVIII.) to shew Denon. It was about the size of our half crown, in bronze. The countenance was in profile:—an admirable, and a very strong resemblance. The reverse was the equestrian statue of Henri IV., upon the Pont-Neuf.[178] Upon the whole, quite as good, as an effort of art, as what has been done for Bonaparte. The artist had well nigh succeeded in drawing me into a sort of half temptation to bespeak an impression of the medal in gold. "It was but a trifling sum—some twenty louis, or thereabouts. It would look so sharp and splendid in gold! and...." "I thank you much Sir, (replied I) but twenty louis will carry me almost to Strasbourg, whither I am to proceed in about a week or ten days." One thing I must add, much to his good sense and pure patriotic feeling:—he had been indirectly solicited to strike some medals, commemorative of the illustrious achievements of our WELLINGTON: but this he pointedly declined. "It was not, Sir, for me to perpetuate the name of a man who had humbled the power, and the military glory, of my own country." Such was his remark to me. What is commendable in MUDIE,[179] would have been ill-timed, if not disgraceful, in Andrieu.

Come with me, now, to a very different exhibition: to a unique collection, of its kind: to a collection, not frequently visited: as little known; but undoubtedly well deserving both of being often visited and described. It is of the Collection of Paintings belonging to MR. QUINTIN CRAUFURD, living in the Rue d'Anjou, no. 21, that I am about to speak:—the fruits of a long residence (upwards of thirty years) in France; during the alternate commotions of republicanism and despotism. A letter of introduction procured me every facility of access to make repeated examinations of these treasures; and during my sojournings I fancied myself holding converse alternately with some of the grandees of the time of Francis I. and Louis XIV.

Such a collection of French portraits—almost entirely of characters who have cut a figure in history—is no where else to be seen in Paris. In my estimation, it is beyond all price.

Facing you, as you enter, stands—firmly upon his legs, and looking you manfully in the face—- the gallant and faithful Comte De Brienne, Grand Master of the Ceremonies to Francis I. and Henry II. A fine picture; and quite perfect.[180] To the left, is a charming whole length portrait, by Velasquez: a tender and exquisitely careful specimen of art. Of other whole lengths, but subordinately executed, you should notice one of Christine, Duchesse de Savoie, daughter of Henry II. and Catherine de Medicis; very curious, and in perfect preservation. There is a duplicate of this picture in the Louvre. A much more curious picture is a whole length, supposed to be of Agnes Sorel, mistress of Charles VII. One minute's reflection will correct this designation of the portrait. In the time of Agnes Sorel, portrait painting, in oil, was unknown—at least in France. The costume betrays the misnomer: for it is palpably not of the time of Agnes Sorel. Here is also a whole length of Isabella, daughter of Philip II. and Governess of the Low Countries. There are several small fancy pictures; among which I was chiefly, and indeed greatly struck, with a woman and two children by Stella. 'Tis a gem of its kind.

Leaving this room, you turn, to the left—into a small room, but obscurely lighted. Here is a Virgin and Child, by Sasso Ferrato, that cannot be surpassed. There is a freedom of design, a crispness of touch, and a mellowness of colouring, in this picture, that render it a performance very much above the usual representations of this subject. In the same room is a spirited, but somewhat singular, picture of the birth of Venus. It exhibits the conception and touch of a master. The colouring is very sober. The name of the artist is not upon the frame, and as I was generally alone when I made my memoranda, I had no one to instruct me. You leave this room, and pass on—catching a glimpse of a lawn richly bedecked with flowers and shrubs—into a long and lofty room, which unites the two enviable distinctions of LIBRARY and GALLERY. Here you are bewildered for an instant: that is to say, you are divided in your attention between the admiration of the proportion and structure of the room, and the alternate captivation of books, busts, and pictures. But as you have had enough of paper and print in former despatches, I shall confine myself here exclusively to the pencil and the chisel.

Let us first walk leisurely about the ground floor, ere we mount the gallery. To begin with the busts. That of the late Abbe Barthelemi, in white marble, immediately strikes you.[181] It is full of nature and of character; and the hair has just enough of the antique gusto about it to render the toute ensemble equally classical and individualised—if you will allow this latter expression. Here is a terra-cotta head of Corneille, of very indifferent workmanship; and much inferior to a similar representation of him at Rouen. The terra-cotta head of Rousseau is considerably better. But the marble bust of Voltaire, by Houdon, throws every thing about it into tameness. It is as fine as is the terra-cotta bust of the same person which Denon possesses. Here, however, the poet is in a peruque, or dress-wig. His eyes sparkle with animation. Every feature and every muscle seems to be in action: and yet it is perfectly free from caricature or affectation. A surprising performance. This head and that of Barthelemi are quite perfect of their kind. And yet I am not sure whether I should not have preferred the fine bronze bust of Henri II., somewhat larger than life, to either of the preceding. But I must not forget the colossal head of Bonaparte, when a young man, by Canova. It is of white marble: considered to be the original. Denon has a similar head, by the same artist. I am not sure if I do not prefer Mr. Craufurd's. Of paintings, on this floor, the head of Francis I. by Titian—(which may be called rather a finished sketch, and which is retouched in parts) is a very desirable performance; but it is inferior to the same head, by the same artist, in the Louvre. Here is a charming portrait of a Lady in the time of Louis XV., who chose to lead the life of a Religieuse: sweetly and naturally touched. A fine portrait of Grotius is also here; well deserving a conspicuous place in any cabinet of learning.[182]

We will now walk up stairs to the gallery. Of course, in the confined space between the balustrade and the wainscot (not much more than three feet), it is barely possible to appreciate the full effect of the paintings; but I here send you a list of the greater part of them, with brief remarks, upon the general accuracy of which you may rely.

Madame Scarron, with the Duc du Maine; apparently by Mignard: in a very fresh and perfect state.

A fine head of Racine, and similar one of De La Motte.

Mademoiselle de Guiche, Princesse de Monaco; in all probability by Mignard. Good.

Mademoiselle Hamilton, Comtesse de Grammont; by Mignard. If the Comte de Grammont chose to fall in love only with beautiful women, he could scarcely, upon his own principles, (which indeed were any thing but moral) have found any one so lovely as was his WIFE. Yet I have seen handsomer portraits of her than this.

Anne de Gonzague. She was Princess Palatine, and daughter of Charles Duke of Nevers. This is a half length portrait. A garland is in her right hand. A gay and pleasing picture.

Le Chancelier d'Aguesseau. By Rigaud. A fine mellow portrait.

Louis XI. A whole length; supposed to be by Leonardo da Vinci. Not very credible. It is a fine, bold, horribly-looking portrait: not in the very best state of preservation.

Blaise Pascal. Very fine. The artist's name is not inscribed; but there is a Murillo-like effect about this portrait, which is very striking. Pascal holds a letter in his hand.

Next to Pascal is a prodigiously fine oval portrait (is it of Fontaine?) by Rigaud. No name is subjoined.

Comtesse de la Fayette. A fine countenance: hands apparently recoloured. In yellow drapery.

Julie-Lucie d'Augennes, Duchesse de Montausier. She died in 1671. The portrait is by Mignard. It represents this celebrated female, when young, encadred by flowers. The carnation tints of the flesh, and the blue lustre of the eye, have nothing finer in the whole circle of Mignard's performances. This is a picture from which the eye is withdrawn with no common reluctance. It is clear, bright, fresh, and speaking.[183]

The Wife of P. de Champagne. She holds a small oval portrait of the mother of her husband, the famous painter, in her lap. The picture is by P. de Champagne himself. The head of the mother is very clever: but the flesh has perhaps too predominant a tint of pinkish-purple throughout.

Madame de la Sabliere. Oval: very clever.

Madame Deshoulieres. Similar, in both repects.

Madame Cornuel. Oval: a stiff performance.

Madame la Duchesse d'Orleans. She is represented as Hebe. A pretty picture; but a little too much "frenchified."

Madame de Staal. Oval. Beautiful and perfect.

Madame la Marquise de Rambouillet. A deg. 1646. A most beautiful picture. The head and shoulders are worthy of Vandyke. The curtain, in the background, is flowered; and perhaps too hard.

Madame la Duchesse de la Valliere, mere du dernier duc de ce nom. She was the mother of the Duke de la Valliere who had the celebrated library; and died in 1782, within three months of reaching her hundredth year! She was an old woman, but yet very handsome, when this portrait was painted. Her colour is yet tender, and her features are small and regular. The eyes have unusual intelligence, for so protracted a period of life. It is a half length, and I should think by Rigaud. She is sitting in a chair, holding a tea spoon in her right hand, and a tea cup in her left. This may have some allusion, of which I am ignorant. The whole picture is full of nature, and in a fine tone of colour.

The Duke of Monmouth. He is sitting: holding a truncheon in his right hand. A helmet and plume are before him. He wears a white sash. This is a dark, but may be called a finely painted, picture. Yet the Duke is not represented as a handsome man.

Turenne. By P. de Champagne. Fine.

Bossuet. By Rigaud. This is not only considered as the chef-d'oeuvre of Rigaud, but it has been pronounced to be the finest portrait ever executed within the last century of the French School.[184] It is a whole length; and is well known to you from the wonderful print of it by Drevet. The representation is worthy of the original; for Bossuet was one of the last of the really great men of France. He had a fine capacity and fine scholarship: and was as adroit in polemics as Richelieu was in politics. He resembled somewhat our Horsley in his pulpit eloquence,—and was almost as pugnacious and overbearing in controversy. He excelled in quickness of perception, strength of argument, and vehemence of invective; yet his sermons are gradually becoming neglected—while those of Fenelon, Massillon, and Saurin are constantly resorted to ... for the fine taste, pure feeling, and Christianlike consolation which breathe throughout them. One thing, in this fine whole length portrait of Bossuet, cannot fail to be noticed by the curious. The head seems to have been separately painted, on a small square piece of canvass, and let into the picture.

There is certainly a rifacimento of some kind or other; which should denote the head to have been twice painted.

C. Paulin. By Champagne. Paulin was first confessor to Louis XIV.; and had therefore, I should apprehend, enough upon his hands. This is a fine portrait.

William III. Harsh and stiff. It is a performance (as most of those of William seem to be) for the model of a head of a ship.

Colbert, Eveque de Montpellier. A fine head.

Flechier, Eveque de Nismes. A very fine portrait. The name of the painter does not appear.

A fine half length portrait of a Marshal of France, with a truncheon in his hand. Both the hands are beautifully drawn and coloured.

Marechal duc d'Harcourt. By Rigaud.

Eliz. Angelique de Montmorenci, Duchesse de Chatillon. She died in 1695 in her 69th year. This is a fine picture, but injured and retouched. The left hand rests upon a lion's head.

F. Marie de Bourbon, fille de Madame de Montespan, et femme du Regent. A stiffish picture; but the countenance is pleasing.

Madame la Duchesse de Nevers, fille de Madame de Thianges, et niece de Madame de Montespan. A bow is in her right hand, and a dog in her left. The countenance is beautiful and well painted. The eyes and mouth in particular have great sweetness of expression.

Duc de Montausier; in a hat and red feather. By Rigaud.

Madame la Duchesse de Sforce: fille cadette de Madame de Thianges. A small whole length, sitting: with two greyhounds in her lap, and a third at her side.

Le Ministre Colbert. By Mignard. A fine picture.[185]

Marie Leezinska, femme de Louis XV. A cleverly painted head.

Le Cardinal Mazarin. By P. de Champagne. Whole length. A fine portrait— which I never contemplate without thinking of the poor unfortunate "man in an iron mask!"

Madame de Motteville. She died in her 74th year, in 1689. This is merely the head and shoulders; but in the Vandyke style of execution.

Charles Paris d'Orleans, dernier Duc de Longueville. He was killed in the famous passage of the Rhine, at Tolhuys, in 1672.

Charles I. By Vandyke. A beautiful half length portrait. Perhaps too highly varnished.

Le Marquis de Cinq-Mars. He was beheaded at the age of twenty-two, in September 1642. There is also a whole length of him, in a rich, white, flowered dress. A genuine and interesting picture.

Mary Queen of Scots. Whole length: in a white dress. A copy; or, if an old picture, repainted all over.

Don Carlos, the unfortunate son of Philip II. of Spain. A beautiful youth; but this picture, alleged to have been painted by Alfonso Sanchez Coello, must be a copy.

The foregoing are the principal decorations along the gallery of this handsome and interesting room. In an adjoining closet, where were once two or three portraits of Bonaparte, is a beautiful and highly finished small whole length of Philip Duke of Orleans, Regent of France. Also a whole length of Marmontel, sitting; executed in crayon. The curiously carved frame, in a brown-coloured wood, in which this latter drawing is contained, is justly an object of admiration with visitors. I have scarcely seen a more appropriate ornament, for a choice cabinet, than this estimable portrait of Marmontel. Here are portraits of Neckar, and Clement Marot, in crayons: the latter a copy. Here is, too, a cleverly painted portrait of L. de Boulogne.

We descend—to a fourth room, or rather to a richly furnished cabinet— below stairs. Every thing here is "en petit." Whether whole lengths, or half lengths, they are representations in miniature. What is this singular portrait, which strikes one to the left, on entering? Can it be so? Yes ... DIANE DE POICTIERS again! She yet lives every where in France. 'Tis a strange performance; but I have no hesitation in calling it AN ORIGINAL ... although in parts it has been palpably retouched. But the features—and especially the eyes—(those "glasses of the soul," as old Boiastuau calls them[186]) seem to retain their former lustre and expression. This highly curious portrait is a half length, measuring only ten inches by about eight. It represents the original without any drapery, except a crimson mantle thrown over her back. She is leaning upon her left arm, which is supported by a bank. A sort of tiara is upon her head. Her hair is braided. Above her, within a frame, is the following inscription, in capital roman letters: "Comme le Cerf brait apres le decours des Eaues; ainsi brait mon Ame, apres Toy, o Dieu." Ps. XLII. Upon the whole, this is perhaps the most legitimate representation of the original which France possesses.[187]

In the same boudoir is a small and beautifully coloured head of Francis I. Here is a portrait of the famous Duchess of Portsmouth, on horseback, in red; and another of the Duchess of Nevers, in a blue riding jacket. But much more estimable, and highly to be prized—as works of art—- are the TWO MURILLOS: one, apparently of St. Francis, which was always religiously preserved in the bed-chamber of Madame de Maintenon, having been given to her by Louis XIV. The other, although fine, has less general interest. I could hardly sufficiently admire the whole length of Jacques Callot, painted by himself. It is delicious, of its kind. There is a very curious and probably coeval picture representing whole length portraits of the Cardinals of Guise and Lorraine, and the Dukes of Guise and Mayenne,[188] The figures are very small, but appear to be faithful representations. An old portrait of Louis Roi de Sicile, Pere de Rene,—a small head, supposed to be of the fifteenth century—is sufficiently singular, but I take this to be a copy. Yet the likeness may be correct. A whole length of Washington, with a black servant holding his horse, did not escape my attention. Nor, as an antiquary, could I refuse bestowing several minutes attention upon the curious old portrait (supposed to be by Jean de Bruges) of Charlotte, Wife of Louis XI. It is much in the style of the old illuminations. In one of the lower rooms, I forget which, is a portrait of Bonaparte; the upper part of the same representation of him which appeared in London from the pencil of David. He is placed by the side of a portrait (of the same dimensions) of his conqueror, Wellington: but I am not much disposed to admire the style of execution of our hero. It is a stiff, formal, and severely executed picture. Assuredly the present school of French portrait painters is most egregiously defective in expression; while ours, since the days of Reynolds, has maintained a most decided superiority. I believe I have now noticed every thing that is more particularly deserving of attention in the Collection of Mr. Quintin Craufurd ... But I cannot retrace my steps without again expressing my admiration of the local of this little domain. The garden, offices, and neighbourhood render it one of the most desirable residences in Paris.[189]

As I happen to be just now in the humour for gossiping about the fine arts, suppose I take you with me to the collection of paintings of the MARQUIS DE SOMMARIVA, in the Rue du Bas Rempart? It is among the most distinguished, and the most celebrated, in Paris; but I should say it is rather eminent for sculpture than for painting. It is here that Canova reigns without a rival. The early acquaintance and long tried friend of the Marquis, that unrivalled sculptor has deposited here what he considers to be the chef-d'oeuvre of his art, as a single figure. Of course, I speak of his Magdalen. But let me be methodical. The open day for the inspection of his treasures is Friday.

When I entered, not a creature was in the rooms. The general effect was splendid and imposing. I took out my memorandum-book, and went directly to work; noticing only those subjects which appeared, on one account or other, to be more particularly deserving of attention. There is a pretty picture of CUPID AND PSYCHE, by Carlo Cignani; the simple and quiet effect of which is much heightened by being contrasted with the very worst representation of the same subject, which I ever saw, by David: painted last year at Brussels. How the Marquis can afford so many square yards of his walls for the reception of such a performance, is almost marvellous. It is, throughout, in the worst possible taste. The countenance of Cupid, who is sitting on the bed or couch with the vacant grin of an ideot, is that of a negro. It is dark, and of an utterly inane expression. The colouring is also too ruddy throughout. Near to this really heartless picture, is one of a woman flying; well drawn, and rather tenderly coloured. Opposite, is a picture of Venus supported in the air by a group of Cupids. The artist is Prudhon. In the general glare of colour, which distinguishes the French school, it is absolutely refreshing to have the eye soothed by something like an attempt, as in this picture, at a mellow chiaro-oscuro. It has undoubted merit. It is, upon the whole, finely coloured; but the countenance of Venus is so pale as to have an almost deathly effect. It is intended to represent her as snatched away from the sight of her dead Adonis.

In common courtesy I must make but brief mention of a very clumsy, and ill-drawn child, by De Broisefremont: and hasten, in the next room, to the magnificent picture of Diana and Endymion, painted by Guerin in 1810, and lately engraved. This picture is a very fair illustration of the merits and demerits of the FRENCH SCHOOL OF PAINTING. The drawing of Endymion is, upon the whole, good; but a palpable copy of the antique. This necessarily gives it somewhat an air of affectation. The shepherd lies upon a bed of clouds, (terminated by an horizon which is warmed by the rays of a setting sun) very gracefully and perhaps naturally. He seems to sleep soundly. His whole figure and countenance glow with the warmth of beauty and youth. I will not disturb his slumbers by finding the least fault—even with the disposition of the extremities. But his nightly visitor—the enamoured goddess—is, of all female figures which I have ever seen upon canvass, one of the most affected, meagre, and uninteresting. Diana has been exchanged for an opera dancer. The waist is pinched in, the attitude is full of conceit, and there is a dark shadow about the neck, as if she had been trying some previous experiment with a rope! Endymion could never open his eyes to gaze upon a figure so utterly unworthy of the representation of an enamoured deity.[190] The Cupids must also be condemned; for they are poor in form, and indifferent in execution. The back ground has considerable merit: but I fear the picture is too highly glazed. In this room also is the famous picture of Belisarius, engraved with so much eclat by Desnoyers. I own that I like the engraving better than the painting; for I see no occasion for such a disproportionate quantity of warm colouring as this picture exhibits.

Pope (in his Epistle to Jarvis, I think) says of artists, that, "to paint the naked is their dear delight." No artists ever delighted so much in this branch of painting as the French. Does not this taste argue a want—not only of respect, but—of feeling? It was therefore pleasing to me, my dear friend, to turn my attention from the studied display of naked goddesses, in the collection of the worthy Marquis of Sommariva, towards objects a little more qualified to gratify the higher feelings connected with art:—and the first thing which soothed me, when I had so turned my attention, was, the Terpsichore of Canova. You know it from the print by Morghen. The countenance, to my eye, is the perfection of female beauty:—yet it is a countenance which seems to be the abstract—the result of study, and of combination—rather than of beauty, as seen "in mortal race which walks the earth." The drapery appears to be studiously neglected—giving it the appearance of the antique, which had been battered and bruised by the casualties of some two thousand years. By this, I mean that the folds are not only numerous, but the intermediate parts are not marked by that degree of precision and finish, which, in my opinion, they ought to have received. Yet the whole has an enchantingly simple air: at once classical, pure, and impressive. The Marquis has indeed great reason to be proud of it.

But if I pat the right cheek of Canova with one hand, I must cuff his left cheek with the other. Here is a Cupid by him, executed in 1787. It is evidently the production of a mind not ripened to its fullest powers. In other words, I should call it "a poor, flat thing."

We approach the far-famed MAGDALEN. Immediately opposite the boudoir, where the last mentioned treasures are deposited, you observe a door, or aperture, half covered with silken drapery of a greyish brown tint. There was something mysterious in the appearance, and equally so in the approach. I had no intimation of what it led to; for, as I told you, not a creature besides myself was in the rooms. With a gently raised hand I drew the drapery aside, entered ... and looked before me. There stood the MAGDALEN. There she was, (more correctly speaking) kneeling; in anguish and wretchedness of soul—her head hanging down—contemplating a scull and cross, which were supported by her knees. Her dishevelled hair flowed profusely over her back and shoulders. Her cheeks were sunk. Her eyes were hollow. Her attitude was lowly and submissive. You could not look at her without feeling pity and compassion.

Such, in few words, is the Magdalen of Canova. For the first five minutes I was lost in surprise and admiration. The windows are hid by white curtains; and the interior is hung all over with the same grey silk drapery, before noticed. A glass, placed behind the figure, affords you a view of the back while you are contemplating the front. This is very ingenious; but it is probably too artificial. The effect of the room, however—from the silken drapery with which it is entirely covered—is, although studied, upon the whole excellent. Of course the minutes flew away quickly in such a place, and before such an object; and I think I viewed the figure, in every possible direction, for full three quarters of an hour. The result of that view—after the first feelings of admiration had subsided—I proceeded forthwith to impart: and shall be most happy to be set right if I have erred, in the conclusion which I draw. In truth, there can be only one or two little supposed impeachments of the artist's judgment, in the contemplation of this extraordinary figure. The Magdalen has probably too much of the abject expression of mendicity in her attitude; and, for a creature thus poor and prostrate, one is surprised to find her gazing upon a golden cross. It is a piece of finery ill placed in the midst of such wretchedness. But Canova is fond of gilt; yet what is appropriate in Hebe may be discordant in the Magdalen. This penitent creature, here so touchingly expressed, is deeply wrapped in meditation upon her crucified Master. She has forsaken the world ... to follow the cross!—but surely this idea would have been more powerfully expressed, if the cross had not been visible?. Was this object necessary to tell the tale?—or, rather, did not the sculptor deem it necessary to balance (as is called) the figure? Nor am I over well satisfied with the scull. It is common-place. At any rate, if scull and cross must be there, I wish the cross had been simply of stone—as is the scull.

My next objection relates to a somewhat more important point. I think the face and figure do not seem to belong to the same human being: the former is shrunken, ghastly, and indicative of extreme constitutional debility: the latter is plump, well formed, and bespeaks a subject in the enjoyment of full health. Can such an union, therefore, be quite correct? In the different views of this figure, especially in profile, or behind, you cannot fail to be struck with the general beauty of the form; but this beauty arises from its fulness and just proportion. In gazing upon it, in front, you are pained by the view of a countenance shrunk almost to emaciation! Can this be in nature? And do not mental affliction and bodily debility generally go together? The old painters, even as far back as the time of illuminators of books, used to represent the Magdalen as plump, even to fatness,—and stout in all respects; but her countenance usually partook of this vigour of stamina. It was full, rosy, and healthful. The older artists sometimes placed the Magdalen in a very awkward, and perhaps impossible, situation; and she was even made to be buried up to the bosom in earth—still exercising her devotions. Canova has doubtless displayed great pathos in the wretched aspect, and humiliated attitude, of his Magdalen; but he has, at the same time, not been inattentive to beauty of form. I only wish she appeared to be in as good condition as the torso indicates. A fastidious observer might say the figure was not quite balanced, and that she must fall backward—if she retained such an attitude for a quarter of an hour. But this is hyper-criticism. The date of the execution of this figure is 1796: and parts of it clearly indicate that, if the sculptor were now to re-execute it, he would have paid even yet more attention to the finishing of the hair. Upon the whole, however, it is a masterly effort of modern art.

It is almost fixed that we leave Paris within a week or ten days from hence:—and then, for green fields, yellow corn, running streams, ripened fruit, and all the rural evidences of a matured summer.

[164] It was translated into English, and published in this country on a reduced scale, both as to text and engravings—but a reprint of it, with a folio volume of plates, &c. had appeared also in 1802. At the time, few publications had such a run; or received a commendation, not more unqualified than it was just. See an account of this work in the Library Companion, p. 442. edit. 1824.

[165] [M. Denon DIED in 1825, aged 78. The sale of his Marbles, Bronzes, Pictures, Engravings, &c. took place in 1826.]

[166] [It was sold at the sale of M. Denon's pictures for 650 francs, and is numbered 187 in the Catalogue.]

[167] [One of these pictures brought 1,400, and the other 220 francs: prices, infinitely below their real worth. They should have been sold HERE!]

[168] [M. Crapelet says—this bust was modelled after the life by PIGALLE: and was, in turn, the model of that belonging to the figure of Voltaire in the library of the Institute: see p. 195 ante.]

[169] [The result—judging from the comparative prices obtained at the sale—has confirmed the propriety of my predilection. It brought 5000 francs. In the sale catalogue, is the following observation attached: "On admire dans ce precieux tableau de chevalet la facilite surprenante de pinceau et cette harmonic parfaite de couleur qui faisaient dire au Tiarini, peintre contemporain, "Seigneur Guerchin, vous faites ce que vous voulez, et nous autres ce que nous pouvons." No. 14.]

[170] ["This figure was cast from a model made by Montoni in 1809. There were ONLY six copies of it, of which four were in bronze and two in silver." Cat. No. 717. I have not been able to learn the price for which it was sold.]

[171] The OPPOSITE PLATE will best attest the truth of the above remark. It exhibits a specimen of that precise period of art, when a taste for the gothic was beginning somewhat to subside. The countenance is yet hard and severely marked; but the expression is easy and natural, and the likeness I should conceive to be perfect. As such, the picture is invaluable. [So far in the preceding edition. The sequel is a little mortifying. The above picture, an undoubted original—and by a master (the supposed pupil of John Van Eyk) who introduced the art of oil-painting into Italy—was sold for only 162 francs: whereas the copy of it, in oil, by Laurent, executed expressly for the accompanying plate (and executed with great skill and fidelity) cost 400 francs!]

[172] [What a taste have the Virtuosi at Paris! This interesting picture was allowed to be sold for 162 francs only. Who is its fortunate Possessor?]

[173] [The OPPOSITE PLATE, which exhibits the head in question, is a sufficient confirmation of the above remark.]

[174] [First, of the MARC ANTONIOS. Since the sale of the Silvestre Collection, in 1810, nothing had been seen at Paris like that of M. Denon. It was begun to be formed in the eighteenth century: from which it is clear, that, not only was every proof at least an hundred years old, but, at that period, ZANETTI, the previous possessor of this Collection, sought far and wide, and with unremitting diligence, for the acquisition of the choicest impressions of the engraver. In fact, this Collection, (contained in an imperial folio volume, bound in morocco—and of which I necessarily took but a hasty glance) consisted of 117 original impressions, and of 26 of such as were executed in the school of M. Antonio. Of the original impressions, the whole, with the exception of four only, belonged to Zanetti. "If, says the compiler of the Catalogue, (1826, 8vo. p. ij.) some of the impressions have a dingy tint, from the casualties of time, none have been washed, cleaned, or passed through chemical experiments to give them a treacherous look of cleanliness." This is sound orthodoxy. The whole was put up in one lot, and ... BOUGHT IN.

Secondly, for the REMBRANDTS. The like had never been before submitted to public auction. The Collections of Silvestre and Morel de Vinde out and out eclipsed! Zanetti again—the incomparable—the felicitous—the unrivalled Zanetti had been the possessor of THIS Collection also. But yet more ... John Peter Zoomer, a contemporary (and peradventure a boon companion) of Rembrandt, was the original former of the Collection. It is therefore announced as being COMPLETE in all respects—"exhibiting all the changes, retouches, beautiful proofs, on India and other paper: ample margins, unstained, uninjured; and the impressions themselves, in every stage, bright, rich, and perfect. The result of all the trouble and expence of 50 years toil of collection is concentrated in this Collection." So says John Peter Zoomer, the original collector and contemporary of Rembrandt. It consisted of 394 original pieces: 3, attributed to Rembrandt, without his name: 11, of John Lievens, Ferdinand Bol, and J.G. Villet: 11 copies: and 9 engraved in the manner of Rembrandt. The whole contained in 3 large folio volumes, bound in red morocco.

No reasonable man will expect even a precis of the treasures of this marvellous Collection: A glance of the text will justify every thing to follow: but the "Advertisement" to the Catalogue prepares the purchaser for the portrait of _Rembrandt with the bordered cloak_— Ditto, _with the Sabre—Ephraim Bonus_ with the _black ring_—the _Coppinol_, as above described—the _Advocate Tolling_—the _Annunciation of Christ's Nativity to the Shepherds—the _Resurrection of Lazarus—Christ healing the Sick_; called the _Hundred Guilders_[H]—the _Astrologer asleep_—and several _Landscapes_ not elsewhere to be found—of which one, called the _Fishermen_ (No. 456) had escaped Bartsch, &c. &c. The descriptions of the several articles of which this Collection was composed, occupy 47 pages of the Catalogue. The three volumes were put up to sale—as a SINGLE LOT—at the price of 50,000 francs:—and there was _no purchaser_. Of its present destiny, I am ignorant: but there are those in this country, who, to my knowledge, would have given 35,000 francs.

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