[FINE BINDING]. Les Statuts de l'Ordre du Saint-Esprit Estably par Henri III.me du Nom Roy de France et de Pologne au mois de Decembre l'An M.D. LXXIII. [Paris:] Imprimerie Royale, 1724.
4to., (11 x 7 7/8 inches). Engraved title-page surrounded by a red-ruled border, as are all the text leaves, for presentation, 5 engraved vignette head-pieces and 4 engraved vignette tail-pieces, 5 of which are signed by S. le Clerc, and with 3 engraved initials of varying sizes (one page with marginal crease, one or two spots in the margins). EXCEPTIONALLY FINE BINDING of 18th-century red morocco, each cover elaborately decorated in gilt, with a border of palmette and dentelles roll tools, with large cornerpieces incorporating the dove of the Holy Spirit in a Rococo aureole, surrounding the central gilt arms of Louis XV (Olivier 2494.12), the spine in six compartments, with five raised bands, of which 5 semé with fleur-de-lys and Pentecostal flames and one lettered, extraordinary gilt floral endpapers, all edges gilt, by Tiger (small tear at foot of spine, extremities a little rubbed); preserved in a 20th-century maroon cloth slipcase.
Provenance: From the library of Louis XV of France (1710-1774), known as Louis the Beloved (Louis le bien aimé), of the House of Bourbon, who ruled as King of France and Navarre from 1715 until his death in 1774; by descent to Henri of Artois, the Comte de Chambord, Henri V de France, duc de Bordeaux (1820-1883), with his printed book label, supplied by Maggs Bros., Ltd., on the verso of the front free endpaper, and signs that his bookplate may have been removed from the front paste-down too; by descent to his cousin Don Jaime de Bourbon, Duc de Madrid, the Carlist claimant to the throne of Spain, and the Legitimist claimant to the throne of France (1870-1931) at Frohsdorff, with his ink library stamp on the title-page and in the margin of page 125; by descent to his neice, Princess Messina-Bourbon, from whom it was purchased by Maggs Bros., Ltd. in 1935, with their description and accompanying letter detailing all provenance, signed by Clifford Maggs, loosely inserted; addressed to Linda L. Beinecke, wife of Edwin John Beinecke (1886-1970) with her gilt-lettered leather library label on the front paste-down.
Deluxe edition, PROBABLY FOR PRESENTATION TO LOUIS XV, THE FIRST OWNER OF THIS COPY, printed on thick paper, this is the book of statutes of the most prestigious chivalric order under the Ancien Regime, and A FINE ROYAL ASSOCIATION COPY, as three owners of this book, Louis XV, the Comte de Chambord and his successor as Legitimist Pretender to the throne of France, the Duc de Madrid, were all members of the order, although Chambord and Madrid, unofficially so, who wore the order's insignia, even though they and their king were in exile at the time, and could not confer the order upon themselves. The beautiful official binding is decorated with stamps created for the edition of 1703, representing the emblems of the Order and the royal arms. These stamps were used in subsequent editions to 1788. The Tiger workshop was, along with Du Seuil, one of the two royal binders in charge of these editions.
During his reign, whose ineffectual rule contributed to the decline of royal authority that led to the outbreak of the Revolution in 1789, Louis XV most importantly ceded New France in North America at the conclusion of the Seven Years' War in 1763. While his minsters fought over policy Louis isolated himself at court and occupied himself with a succession of mistresses, most famous of which was Jeanne-Antoinette Poisson, Marquise de Pompadour, whose political influence lasted until her death in 1764.
Henri III created the Ordre du Saint-Esprit (Order of the Holy Ghost), on December 31st, 1578, in memory of his accession to the throne of Poland in 1573, and of France in 1574, both on a Whitsunday. "The order had strict nobiliary requirements and a membership limited at 100 (for French nationals). Four cardinals and four other prelates were members and were called commandeurs, the other members were called chevaliers. There were no other ranks or distinctions among members. The order also had a number of officers (treasurer, chaplain, etc) who were not subject to the nobiliary requirements. The insignia consisted of a collar of alternating crowned Hs, trophies, and flaming heraldic flints, from which hung a Maltese cross azure lined argent, on which a dove descending from Heaven argent was shown. Fleurs-de-lys appear between the arms of the crosses, and pearls are placed on the tips of the cross. The sash was blue (hence the expression "cordon bleu" to mean something of first class). The motto was Duce et auspice.
"From that date, the Saint-Esprit was always conferred with the Saint-Michel (both called "les Ordres du Roi"), although Saint-Michel continued to be conferred alone, especially to artists and writers. The orders were abolished by decree of June 20, 1790. Louis XVIII awarded both orders while in exile (although, according to the statutes of the Saint-Esprit, he could not do so until after his coronation, which never took place). Both orders were reestablished in 1814 upon the Restoration of the monarchy without the nobiliary requirement, and abolished again in 1830 by Louis-Philippe.
"Some pretenders continued to bestow the Saint-Esprit. The comte de Chambord, grandson of Charles X, [as here] wore the cross. The duc d'Orléans (†1926) wore the cross and awarded it to a few people: his cousin Ferdinand I of Bulgaria (1861-1948), his brother the duc de Montpensier, his cousin the duc de Vendôme, his cousin Manuel II of Portugal (1889-1932). The comte de Paris refused to bestow the order, considering that it can only be done by a ruling monarch. Among the Spanish Bourbons, various pretenders have considered themselves to be grandmasters of the Saint-Esprit, and have bestowed the order to various people: Don Carlos duke of Madrid (1847-1919) who inherited the insignia of the comte de Chambord, his son Don Jaime duke of Madrid (1870-1931) to Prince Paul of Yugoslavia and to Xavier of Bourbon-Parma in 1927, the eldest son of Alphonse XIII, don Jaime, duke of Segovia (1908-75) to the duc de Bauffremont, the duc de Polignac, and his son Don Alfonso duke of Anjou (1936-89) to the present duke of Anjou among others". (François Velde for Heraldica online).
Henri, Comte de Chambord was briefly King of France from the 2-9 August 1830 after the almost simultaneous abdication of his grandfather Charles X and uncle, and before the National Assembly decreed that the throne should pass to his distant cousin Louis-Philippe, after that he was the official pretender to the throne of France from 1844 to 1883. His Legitimist heirs to the Bourbon throne were the Ducs de Madrid, who also inherited this book.
Linda L. Beinecke was the wife of Edwin John Beinicke (1886-1970), who with his brother Frederick W. “Fritz” (1887-1971) founded the Beinecke library at Yale. Edwin had a wide range of bookish interests and helped Yale assemble outstanding collections of pre-1600 Western manuscripts, papyri, incunabula, and various individual items of merit. However, his first absorbing focus was Robert Louis Stevenson. Betsy Beinecke writes, “E. J. began to collect Robert Louis Stevenson in the late 1920s, relying in the early years on Maggs Brothers in London and Thomas J. Gannon, Inc., in New York, as agents. [Dealer David A. Randall also sold him important material.] He ranged far and wide in his search for Stevensoniana: he bought at the Jerome Kern sale in 1929, purchased Stevenson’s letters to Charles Baxter from the Savile Club in London, and managed to acquire more material from various members of Stevenson’s family. Selections from the collection were exhibited at the Grolier Club in the fall of 1941, and while little remains to document that event, it was probably there that he first met Yale Librarian James T. Babb, an acquaintance that led finally to the construction and endowment of the Beinecke Library.” (American Book Collecting online). Catalogued by Kate Hunter