Wednesday, June 21, 2017

"My dear, don't we have a library about the house somehere?" "I am not certain, husband, but my great-grandmother spoke of such a thing."

Photo de la bibliothèque de Bouillon, qui recèle 182 ouvrages exceptionnels des 18e et 19e siècles.

From Le Figaro:

Nothing has moved in this study cabinet discovered by an expert of a sales room in Brussels. Besides the furniture, in excellent condition, it contains a collection of more than 180 rare books of the 18th and 19th centuries. Selections will be auctioned this Tuesday, June 20.

"It is extremely rare to come across such an authentic library. It is as if I had been catapulted in the 18th century in a time machine. The books are all perfectly preserved and seem straight out of the printing press of the time, in their original paper cover, " said Henri Godts, interviewed by the Belgian site Le Vif.

Godts, a book expert for an auction house in Brussels, made the extraordinary discovery of a perfectly-preserved 200-year-old library. It belonged to a French intellectual who had taken refuge in Bouillon, a French-speaking city in Belgium, in the Walloon Region in the province of Luxembourg, to flee the French Revolution. The library was discovered in the exact location where its owner had left it. The surviving relatives of the latter met with Henri Godts to show him their treasures

The 182 works, perfectly preserved and dating from the 18th and 19th centuries, have as their main theme foreign countries, their inhabitants, and their exotic cultures. But the most exceptional object is undoubtedly the atlas of the Antwerp Abraham Ortelius, one of the greatest cartographers of the 16th century and contemporary of the geographer Mercator. This piece, considered the first modern atlas, dates from 1575 and was printed in only a hundred copies at the time.

"When I opened the door of this library for the first time, I was extremely surprised by the authenticity and the 18th atmosphere that prevailed there. It took me two days to make a complete inventory. I kept each of these books in hand, taking care to proceed carefully to avoid damaging them," Godts said. The value of the map is estimated between 40,000 and 45,000 euros. As for the library, it will be auctioned between 30,000 and 45,000 euros by the Henri Godts auction house in Brussels on 20 June.

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