HAMILTON, Anthony [Antoine], Count Hamilton in the French nobility (1644/5?–1719) - SCOTT, Sir Walter Memoirs of Count Grammont. Edited, with notes, by Sir Walter Scott. London: John C. Nimmo, 1889
2 volumes. 4to., (11 2/8 x 7 4/8 inches). Half-title in volume one, 1889 title-page printed in red and black, 2 additional title-pages announcing the extra-illustration, 'Printed for the Illustrator, 1900'. 33 illustrations on India paper by L. Boisson after C. Delort; extra-illustrated with 147 engravings 'being portraits of persons, views of places, and other objects of interest mentioned in the text'. Fine red morocco, gilt, by Riviere & Son.
Provenance: with the engraved bookplate of William Edward Hollis on the front paste-down of each volume; with the red morocco library label of William Foyle (1885-1963), bookseller, on the front paste-down, his sale, Christie's, 13th July 2000
Limited edition, number 511 of 750 copies on large paper.
Hamilton's "decision to write the memoirs of his brother-in-law Philibert, Count de Gramont, was originally taken in 1704, while the two men were at Séméac in Gascogne, two years before Gramont's death in January 1707. The work was planned in three parts, but only the first two were ever published. It is not known if the third part was written, although it is promised in all five extant manuscript copies. The first two parts were circulating in manuscript by May 1712, when the duchesse d'Orléans sent a copy to the dowager electress of Hanover, and they were published anonymously and without authorization the following year allegedly at ‘Cologne’, though probably really at Rouen.
"The first part of the memoirs contains an entertaining account of Gramont's early life in France, but the work's fame largely rests on the second part. This is concerned with Gramont's life at the court of Charles II between 1662 and 1664, and is based on Hamilton's own experiences as well as the recollections of his friend. It provides a detailed and invaluable description both of the Restoration court and of its leading courtiers, concentrating on their various intrigues and love affairs. It ends when ‘the Chevalier de Grammont, as the reward of a constancy he had never before known and which he never afterwards practised … was at last blessed with the possession’ of Hamilton's sister Elizabeth, whom he married and took back with him to France. The book was greeted with considerable critical acclaim on account of its brilliance and vivacity. An English translation was published in London in 1714" (Edward Corp for DNB).
From the distinguished library of William Foyle, who "started trading as a bookseller by selling his own school books second-hand as soon as he had no further use for them. In 1903, at the age of eighteen, he opened, with his brother Gilbert (1886–1971), a bookshop in Islington, north London, moving on shortly to Peckham, south London, and in 1904 to Cecil Court, off Charing Cross Road, in central London, where in many shops and on roadside barrows second-hand books were the chief commodity. Three years later the business moved to Charing Cross Road itself, where, with many extensions, it remained in his lifetime". Foyle latterly made "his home near the town of Maldon, buying in 1945 the twelfth-century Premonstratensian abbey of Beeleigh, situated on the River Chelmer. In this beautiful setting he was able to indulge his passion for collecting rare books, and formed a great library. Among his acquisitions were incunabula from William Caxton, Wynkyn de Worde, and Koberger; Shakespeare folios; and a superb collection of fourteenth- and fifteenth-century illuminated manuscripts" (Christina Foyle, rev. G. R. Davies for DNB).