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LENOIR, Alexandre (1761--1839)
[Musée des monumens français. 1800-1821]
Musée des monumens français, ou description historique et chronologique des statues en marbre et bronze, bas-reliefs et tombeaux des hommes et des femmes célèbres, pour servir à l'histoire de France et à celle de l'art; ornée de gravures; et augmentée d'une dissertation sur les costumes de chaque siècle; par Alexandre Lenoir, ...
A Paris de l'imprimerie de Guilleminet, 1800--21.
8 vols ; 21.5 cm. (8º)
I: [4], 240 p., 44 pl.
II: [4], cxxiv, 160 p., pl. 45--88 (bis pl. 61, i.e. 45 pl.)
III: [4], 160 p., pl. 89--135 (bis pl. 114, i.e. 48 pl.);
IV: [4], 203, [1] p., pl. 136--165 (i.e. 30 pl., 7 fold.);
V: [4], 352 p., engr. port., pl. 167--215 (i.e. 49 pl., 5 fold.).
VI: [4], 130 p., add. engr. t.-p., [9], 45 pl. (1 fold.)
VII: xii, 141, [1] p., [41] pl. (numbered 261--251, 4 bis pl., 23 fold.)
VIII: [2], 182, [2] p., [45] pl. (numbered 253--294, 3 bis pl., 28 fold.)

In October 1790 Lenoir, a zealous antiquarian, was given the task of removing all the important national works of ecclesiastical and secular art from the churches and chapels which had been supressed by the Revolution and left untended, and bringing them together for safekeeping at the convent of the Petits-Augustins in Paris. More than two hundred paintings and pieces of sculpture were given to the Louvre and the remainder of the large and valuable collection was set up in 1795 as the Musée national des monumens français. Lenoir, as curator, put the collection in order, restored and classified it, and exhibited it chronologically in eight rooms which were themselves composed of the remains of French churches and chateaux. This was the first ever chronological display of works of art. The exhibition was unprecedented. Nonetheless, it was strongly opposed by Quatremere de Quincy who in 1816 was appointed Intendant general des arts et monuments publics by the new Bourbon government. Owing in part to his hostility the Musée des monumens at the Petits-Augustins and a branch in the gardens of Mousseaux were forced to close in December 1816. The collection was dispersed, the royal tombs being sent to St. Denis and placed under the care of Lenoir, and the Petits-Augustin was handed over to the Ecole des Beaux-Arts. Lenoir compiled numerous books on the Musée national des monumens français, starting in 1793 with a Notice historique des monumens des arts réunis au depot national, rue des Petits-Augustins which was augmented several times to keep up with public interest and the flood of acquisitions, before the museum was closed.

The first five volumes of the present work, published annually between 1800 and 1806, were initially considered by Lenoir to be a completed publication; vol. V is described at the end as the 'dernier Volume'. (See BAL, Early printed books, no. 1822.) In 1821 Lenoir published two further volumes under the same title which he decided to add to volumes I--V and to his earlier work on stained glass, Musée des monumens français; histoire de la peinture sur verre et description des vitraux anciens et modernes, 1803, considered as volume VI, to make an 8 volume set ('Avant-Propos', vol. VII, p. xi). Imprint varies. Volume IV: chez l'Auteur, au Musée des Petits-Augustins; et Laurent Guyot, graveur. De l'imprimerie d'Hacquart. Volume V: chez F. Buisson. L'auteur, au Musée. Laurent Guyot, graveur. Volume VI: chez l'auteur, au Musée des Petits-Augustins; et Laurent Guyot. De l'imprimerie de Guilleminet. Volumes VII--VIII: chez Nepveu, libraire. The first plate in vols I--V is an added engraved volume title-plate. Volume I has a bis plate 19 but no plate 43.

Copy Notes Imperfect; wanting the half-titles. Soane purchased the first two volumes from Josiah Taylor on 25 February 1803 for £1. 5s. Volumes III and VI he purchased from Taylor for 14s. each in December 1804; IV came from Taylor on 7 October 1805 for 14s. and V on 14 November 1809 for £1. 6s. Volumes VII and VIII were purchased on 3 May 1822 for £2 10s. from the booksellers T. & W. Boone, who were also responsible for uniformly binding the set in 'Calf Extra' at that time. (Priv. Corr. XVI.E.4.5; Archive 7/3/4).

Binding C19th 'Spanish' calf, gilt double-rule borders and spines, red and brown morocco spine-labels. Bound by T. & W. Boone (see above).

Reference Number 2640


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