A Suitably Grand and Beautifully Designed Binding Commemorating the German Wars of Liberation


(Halle and Berlin: Hallisches Waisenhaus, [1817]). 275 x 215 mm. (10 3/4 x 8 3/8"). [210] leaves, 18 pp., [4] leaves.

REMARKABLY FINE CONTEMPORARY MARBLED CALF, covers with complex gilt border composed of plain rules and decorative rolls, smooth spine divided into compartments by gilt Greek key rolls, top and bottom compartments with all-over gilt scallop design, long central panel of black morocco with elaborate gilt vase and floral ornament surrounded by small gilt stars and with red morocco titling label above; FULL SPECKLED CALF DOUBLURES, the front doublure with a painted lyre (featuring gilt strings), sword, and wreath, the rear with a monopteros with an eternal flame at the center upon a plinth superimposed upon which is an onlaid black morocco label framed in gilt and with gilt lettering "18. Oct. 1813," both doublures framed with red morocco supporting an elegant scrolling gilt band, densely gilt turn-ins, blue silk moiré endleaves, all edges gilt (an expert two-centimeter repair at head of spine). With frontispiece, 21 portraits, and 11 maps (three folding, one with flap), all but one with inserted tissue guard. ◆Joints with slight flaking, a hint of wear along tail edges (as expected), bottom spine compartment faintly rubbed (with minor loss of gilt), a little oxidation to the wreath on front doublure, but A VERY HANDSOME BINDING with only minor condition issues. Light overall browning to plates because of paper content (but virtually no foxing and only very occasional some quite faint spotting); THE TEXT itself IN NEARLY PRISTINE CONDITION, extraordinarily clean, bright, and fresh, with just one or two negligible imperfections.

In a wonderful binding with unusual doublures, this work commemorates the so-called "Wars of Liberation" that effectively ended French hegemony over Europe and that forced Napoleon into exile. Also known as the War of the Sixth Coalition, the conflict took place between 1813-14, following Napoleon's retreat from Russia in 1812. Though the major battles primarily took place in German territory, rulers of Russia, Prussia, Austria, Spain, Portugal, the United Kingdom, Sweden, and many German States all banded together to oppose France. In March of 1814, the allies entered Paris, prompting the French Senate to depose Napoleon and install Louis XVIII as the French sovereign. Although Napoleon would briefly return from his exile on Elba to stage a comeback in 1815, it was short lived and ended in his final defeat. The majority of the text here discusses the events of 1813 and 1814, during the height of the conflict, and includes portraits of the major players and maps, helping to illustrate the most important battles. This work is beautifully printed on thick, white paper, and is clearly meant to act as both a chronological record of the events and a memorial to those who liberated the German states from a tyrannical power. The lovely marbled calf binding opens to reveal two exceptional doublures painted in the manner of an antique vase, with a lyre, wreath, and sheathed sword on the front doublure, and on the rear a monopteros, this latter circular colonnade with an eternal flame bearing a small morocco onlay emblazoned with the date 18 October 1813. This refers to the Battle of Leipzig (also called the Battle of Nations, fought from 16-19 October)--by many accounts the single largest and bloodiest battle of the entire Napoleonic Era. It marked a decisive turning point in the Wars of Liberation, and was an obvious source of pride for the German people. Given the momentous nature of the book's content, the present grand and beautifully designed binding serves as a suitably striking vehicle of presentation.

Price: $7,500.00