16mo in 8s, pp. 787, , [1 (blank)]; woodcut device to title, woodcut initials, slightly toned in places, marginal light damp-stains to a few leaves; otherwise a very good copy in contemporary French red morocco gilt to a panel design, filleted in gilt with centre- and corner-pieces, spine gilt in compartments, lettered directly and tooled with fleurons, board-edges tooled and turn-ins filleted, edges gilt; front joint skilfully repaired; spine lettered ‘P.L.R.’ in gilt to top compartment, near-contemporary ownership inscription ‘Ex libris Boteri’ [?] to title; bookplate of André Morellet to upper pastedown (see below).
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[Opera:] Divinarum institutionum lib. VII, De ira Dei liber I; De opificio Dei liber I; Epitome in libros suos, Liber acephalos; Carmen de phœnice, Resurrectione Dominica, Passione Domini.
First edition of Lactantius’ works to be printed by de Tournes and Gazeau, in an attractive contemporary French morocco binding, from the library of André Morellet, a friend of Benjamin Franklin, and translator of Beccaria and Jefferson.
André Morellet (1727–1819), liberal economist and Enlightenment philosopher, owned an extensive library which attracted attention both for its contents and comfort. As noted by Frances Burney to her father in 1811, ‘“The Abbé Morellet, now 85 or 86 … has a bookery in such elegant order, that people beg to go & see it”’ (Medlin, p. 584). Though moved during the Terror, forced to sell items by necessity, and diminished by theft in 1817, at the time of its dispersal in 1819 the library listed over 4700 items in its sale catalogue (see Catalogue des Livres de la Bibliothèque de Feu M. l'Abbé Morellet… Paris, Verdières, 1819, this volume being lot 97).
Of several thousand books known to have belonged to Morellet, Medlin could in 1996 trace recent references to only sixteen.
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