CHAMBURE, Laurent Auguste Pelletier de (1789-1832). Napoleon et ses contemporains. Suite de gravures representant des traits d'heroisme, de clemence, de generosite, de popularite, avec texte, publiee par Auguste de Chambure. Paris: Bossange pere [et] freres, 1824.
2 parts in one volume. 4to., (12 x 9 6/8 inches). Title-page with engraved vignette. 2 fine engraved frontispieces portrait of Napoleon and 45 plates all on papier de Chine laid down on heavier stock, engraved by Fauchery, Alfred and Tony Johannot, etc., after Deveria, Steuben, Scheffer, Lami and others. Fine French binding of green straight-grained morocco, each cover elaborately decorated in gilt, the spine in five compartments with four broad raised bands, gilt-lettered in two, the others decorated with fine gilt tools, broad elaborately gilt decorated inner dentelles, cherry moiré silk doublures and endpapers in the style of Simier.
Provenance: with A.-Louis de Meuleneere in Bruxelles, catalogue note; from the library of Jacques Levy, his sale, Sotheby's, 20th April 2012, lot 338
First edition and AN EXCEPTIONALLY FINE COPY IN A FINE FRENCH BINDING IN THE STYLE OF SIMIER. De Meuleneere's catalogue note claims that this copy came from the estate of one of the heirs of Sir Richard Wallace who had acquired the collection of the Chateau d'Eu which had been the summer residence of King Louis-Philippe between 1830 and 1848. He further claims that King Louis-Philippe kept himself from ennui by designing bindings for the celebrated Parisian binder Simier - at this date "Pere & Fils" - and that this is one such binding. However as the binding is unsigned, and there is no small library stamp from the Bibliotheque Chateau d'Eu, the current cataloguer is skeptical. But it makes a very nice story. Chambure was a valiant soldier in Napoleon's army, fighting and being wounded in the Spanish campaign, but being captured by the Russians at the siege of Danzig. After Napoleon's defeat he fell from grace, was court-martialed and sentenced to death for crimes against a pair English officers. However his sentence was reprieved during the Amnesty of 1816 and he spent the intervening years until 1850 in exile in the countryside, during which time he commissioned the exceptional engravings for this book celebrating his hero and the artistry of French engraving. Vicaire II, 171; Brunet I, 1764.