An Unmatched Private Historical Collection of Sixty Original Drawings and [1300] Autograph Letters and Manuscripts. English. Foreign. Arranged alphabetically and illustrated with [1500] Portraits [of John A. Sainsbury, primarily Napoleonic] &c &c.

[John A. Sainsbury, collector; Napoleon Bonaparte; the French Revolution; J. Duplessis Berteaux;]
[John A. Sainsbury, collector
Publication details: 
Without date or place. [London, circa 1840.]
SKU: 10534

12mo, 40 pp. In original brown wraps, printed in green ink on the front with the British royal crest, and on the back with that of Napoleon. Yellow endpapers. Text clear and complete. A fair, tight copy, on aged paper, in worn wraps. Illustrated title-page in red and black. In manuscript on reverse Sainsbury has written: 'J. S. | 13 Upper Ranelagh St | Eaton Square | This Collection is offered at One Half it's Cos - | Viz 1200 Guins.' The text begins with a two-page description of 'Drawings and Proof Engravings. Important scenes in the French Revolution' by J. Duplessis Berteaux; this is followed by a three-page description of an 'unmatched Collection of EIGHTY very interesting and important Historical Papers of Napoleon'; there follow a list of 'Ninety Letters and Papers of all the Emperor Napoleon's Marshals', then 'Ministers of France, 1789-1815', then 'Ninety-five Letters and Papers of the most Eminent Generals and Admirals of France', then a long section on 'Very Eminent Foreigners' (300 autograph letters, 'principally of France'), and finally an 'extensive Private Collection of Autograph Letters and Manuscripts' of 'Eminent Englishmen and Americans'. Around eight additions are made in manuscript in the course of the volume, including 'Milton John, Very Distinguished Poet & Author'. Whatever the outcome of the sale, Sainsbury continued in financial difficulty. In 1860 he was the defendant in an action in the Rolls Court, Chinock v Sainsbury, in which a firm of London auctioneers attempted to recover a loan to him, on a 'collection of manuscripts, coins, and other works of art, and objects of historical interest and curiosity, upon the formation of which he told the plaintiffs he had expended 40,000l.' (Law Times, 10 November 1860). Excessively scarce: the only copy on Worldcat at the New York Public Library.