(Philadelphia: J. B. Lippincott Company, 1889). 292 x 203 mm. (11 1/2 x 8"). xxxvi, [ii], 396 pp.Edited, with notes, by Sir Walter Scott. ONE OF 780 COPIES. (This is copy #331.).
Pleasant contemporary brownish-rose three-quarter morocco over marbled boards by Pfister (stamp-signed on verso of front free endpaper), raised bands, spine attractively gilt in compartments each filled with a spray of flowers being buzzed by a bee, gilt titling, marbled endpapers, top edge gilt, other edges untrimmed. With frontispiece portrait of the author and 33 etchings depicting episodes from the memoirs after Charles Delort, 12 of them full-page. A Large Paper Copy. Front pastedown with bookplate of University of Louisville Library, title page and three other leaves with library stamp or accession number. (Although there is no de-accession stamp, the library has confirmed that this work was legally removed from its collection.) Leather a little dulled from preservative and slightly spotted, joints with a hint of rubbing (half-inch crack at head of front joint), very minor damage at top of spine, faint browning in the text, otherwise quite an appealing copy, the stately binding solid and still appealing, the text with virtually no signs of use, and with vast margins occupying considerably more space than the letterpress.
Although as a work of enduring interest these memoirs exist in numerous printings, this is surely among the most elegant and handsomely produced American editions, featuring attractively printed text with immense margins, charming illustrations of court life, and a binding with considerable shelf appeal. Philibert, Comte de Gramont (1621-1707), was a libertine and gambler who resided at the courts of Louis XIV of France (from which he was banished) and Charles II of England. His memoirs, written in an entertaining and ironic style, were either dictated to, or composed by, his brother-in-law, Anthony Hamilton (1646?-1720). Although unreliable historically, they paint a vivid portrait of the character and scandals of the court, as seen by an insider. Delort (1841-95) was a French academic painter known for his 18th century pastiches, which were quite popular. His illustrations here convey the roguish quality of Grammont and the frivolity at these two great European courts. (ST11462a-193)