Category Archives: Recent acquisitions

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Most influential voice in the Enlightenment reassessment and valorization of ancient Greek art

WINCKELMANN, (J.J.) Histoire de l’art chez les anciens, Par Winckelmann; Traduite de l’allemand; avec des notes historiques et critiques de differens auteurs. Tome Premier [-Tome II. Deuxième partie.] A Paris, Chez H.J. Jansen et Comp. (vols I & II), chez Gide (last volume), 1793-1803. With 3 engraved frontispieces, 3 title vignettes, engraved head- and tailpieces, many fine half-page engravings and 65 engraved plates. Two volumes bound in three. cii, 695, [1] pp.; [4], 692 pp.; [4], 405, [3] pp. 4to. Nineteenth century blind and gilt tooled calf, spines with raised bands, gilt lettering, inside dentelles, marbled edges, joints and extremities a bit shaved, first two volumes with short splits to joints but firmly holding.

€ 900

Brunet v, col. 1463: “Bonne édition, dont les 2 prem. volumes parurent d’abord en 1793, sous le titre Oeuvres de Winckelmann“; Graesse, Trésor de Livres Rares et Précieux, vol. vi, p. 461.
“The most influential voice in the Enlightenment reassessment and valorization of ancient Greek art, Winckelmann also shaped two disciplines that emerged in the eighteenth century, art history and archaeology. (…..) Winckelmann’s growing reputation as the foremost classical scholar, as well as his appointments and personal connections, put him at the center of an influential circle of art connoisseurs, artists, and intellectuals. (…..) History of Ancient Art, groundbreaking because of its historical, developmental account of the origins and development of art in various periods and cultures, largely viewed Roman art, by contrast to that of the Greeks, as imitative in a negative sense, a decadent fall from the perfection of the Greek ideal. (…..) Artistic styles, as Winckelmann argued, developed in response to factors such as climate and social and political structures conducive to freedom. Since, as he saw it, these external conditions were ideal in ancient Greece, Greek art had developed in perfect harmony with nature” (Encyclopedia of the Enlightenment, vol. iv, pp. 259 ff.) From 1758 on, Winckelmann was employed as a librarian and curator by Cardinal Alessandro Albani, founder of one of the most important eighteenth-century collections of classical antiquities. He was also librarian at the Vatican and prefect of Roman antiquities. Winckelmann’s interpretations of ancient arts were enormously influential and his influence can be traced among numerous German thinkers -including Johann Gottfried Herder, Goethe, Friedrich and August Wilhelm Schlegel, and Hegel. – The half-titles of the first two volumes entitled “Oeuvres Complettes de Winckelmann” as indicated by Brunet. Some pages a bit browned or spotted, but only ocassionally, a nice copy on good paper and with ample margins.

Reminiscent of Turgot’s work

(VERRI, P.) Meditazioni sulla economia politica. Prima Edizione Napoletana. Napoli, Nella Stamperia di Giovanni Gravier, 1771. With title-vignette, title printed within engraved border. (8), 212 pp. 8vo. Later boards.

€ 1250

Kress 6828; Goldsmiths 10722 (edition without place or publisher); not in Einaudi (listing three other editions from 1771); Higgs 5167; Mattioli 3734-36, all different editions, not this one; Kress, Italian Economic Literature, i, 406; Carpenter, Economic Bestsellers before 1850, xxv/2.
One of four editions from 1771: the Livorno edition is the first, in the listing by Carpenter and in the Italian Economic Literature this Napels edition is given as the second in the sequence and is followed by the other 1771 editions.
The work was an immediate succes and went through some 6 editions in a short period; Verri’s publishing history outside Italy was remarkable — four French editions, two in German, at least one, perhaps two in Dutch, and a partial Russian translation (Carpenter), and more recently, into English. “Verri’s Meditazioni (Meditations on Political Economy) is a complete treatise on political economy, reminiscent of Turgot’s work (1766) with its tight, logical framework and division into fairly short sections. The work was highly appreciated when it appeared and could be found, for example, in the library of Adam Smith. His work, though now largely ignored, may therefore have exerted greater influence than is generally believed” (New Palgrave, volume iv, p. 807).
“This work (the Meditazioni) firmly embraces free trade, and anticipates (especially the concept of money as a universal commodity, the theory of value, and the dynamics of the laws of the marketplace) the Wealth of Nations of Adam Smith” (Encyclopedia of the Enlightenment, vol. 4, p. 221).
Pietro Verri (1728-1797) was an Italian economist, administrator and philosopher. His work includes several anti-Physiocratic views: for example on tax issues and on the importance of agriculture. His work contains a number of original contributions. Not only did he do historical research of importance, but he also was a true econometrician. Schumpeter states: “Count Pietro Verri …… would have to be included in any list of the greatest economists.” Verri also belonged to the ‘Illuministi” of Italy and founded the important but short-lived periodical ‘Il Caffé’, together with Beccaria and others. – Somewhat browned and spotted throughout, in a contemporary hand written onto title “del c. verri milanese”, rather thick lettering.

The Major Work of the Man who, at a certain point, exercised control over half the United States

LAW, J. Considérations sur le Commerce et sur l’Argent. Par Mr. Law, Controlleur Général des Finances. Traduit de l’Anglois. A La Haye, Chez Jean Neaulme, 1720. With the frontispiece portrait of the author, title printed in red and black. Frontispiece, (8), 189, (misnumbered: 1-168, 167-187), (19, publisher’s catalogue) pp. 12mo. Modern marbled wrapper, held in a cloth clamshell box, label with gilt lettering to spine, a very nice and uncut copy.

€ 7500

Kress 3235; Goldsmiths 5820; Einaudi 3274; Mattioli 1948; Carpenter, IX, (4); European Americana, 720/139.
Very rare first edition in French of Law’s major work, Money and Trade Considered …, which is extremely rare in the first English edition of 1705.
A fugitive from justice in 1694 for killing a man in a duel in England, Law travelled extensively throughout Europe, observing and gaining experience in banking, insurance and finance. He proposed a number of unsuccessful schemes to set up a national bank of issue in Paris (1702), Edinburgh (1705), and Savoy (1712), finally attaining success in France with the establishment in 1718 of the Banque Royale. His monetary strategy included the management of public debt and colonial expansion. In 1717 the French crown created the Compagnie d’Occident, well known as the Compagnie du Mississippi. By converting state notes into its shares, the Company extended its rights over the economic exploitation of Louisiana. In August 1718 it acquired the monopoly over tobacco, and in 1719 it absorbed other French trading companies, obtaining control of mint, payment of the national debt, and receipt of tax revenues. In 1720 the company was united with the Banque Royale, and Law became contrôleur-général, and they had the complete control of colonial trade, currency, banking, and the fiscal system. The Compagnie d’Occident (or Company of the West, as it was also called), owned the trading rights and concessions to half of the land mass of the United States excluding Alaska. It was a territory running from the Gulf of Mexico to Canada, bounded by the Spansih held Texas on the West and the English held Carolinas on the East. The development of the company and John Law’s management made him, at a certain point, exercise control over half the United States !
The present work is his most important work, giving a detailed account of his plan to replace specie with a paper currency based on land and of his proposals for a state bank.
Law’s theories on money and banking are principally contained in Money and Trade Considered. Like other eighteenth-century writers Law adopted a disequilibrium theory of money, viewing it as a stimulant to trade. In a state of unemployment, Law maintained that an increase in the nation’s money supply would stimulate employment and output without raising prices since the demand for money would rise with the increase in output. Moreover, once full employment was attained the monetary expansion would attract factors of production from abroad, so output would continue to increase.
According to Law, a paper-money standard was preferable to one based on precious metals. Suitable candidates for the money supply included government fiat, bank notes, stocks and bonds. Since the primary function of money was as a medium of exchange, it could best be served by a commodity (paper) not subject to considerable fluctuation in value and high-resource costs. Thus Law advocated the establishment of note issuing national banks that would extend productive loans (real bills), providing sufficient currency to guarantee prosperity.
“John Law (1671-1729), I have always felt, is in a class by himself. Financial adventurers –but is it fair so to call that adminitrative genius? -often have a philosophico-economic system of sorts. (…..) But Law’s case is different. He worked out the economics of his projects with a brilliance and, yes, profundity, which places him in the front rank of monetary theorists of all times” (J.A. Schumpeter, History of Economic Analysis, p. 295).
“…..he is in the twenty-first century judged as a theorist of economics and a precursor of schemes of managed money and “Keynesian” full employment policies” (Encyclopedia of the Enlightenment, vol. 11, p. 369).
– The last 19 unnumbered pages contain: Catalogue des livres nouveaux et autres, qui se trouvent à La Haye chez Jean Neaulme.