A Romantic dress with a pedigree

On 25 August 2020, by Claire Papon

This court dress may or may not have belonged to the Duchesse de Berry, but was definitely made in around 1828.


It's not absolutely certain, but family tradition holds that this court dress belonged to Marie-Caroline de Bourbon-Siciles, Duchesse de Berry (1798-1870): an attribution corroborated by the high-quality fabric and embroidery work. The garment with its carnation motif was made in around 1828 in three shades of pink silk taffeta in straight stitch, edged with gold and silver thread. It consists of a bodice with a low boat neck and back boning, with small puffed sleeves, a skirt with a large gathered wavy flounce finished in braid highlighted with embroidery, and with a hem embellished by a quilted trim with oblique bands. The outfit, estimated at €8,000/12,000, is completed by a train held at the waist with a matching stitched belt, and is in excellent condition. It is on offer on Wednesday 30 September, room 15 at Drouot with Tessier & Sarrou & Associés (expert: Mr Grassat). Symbolising the passion of Christ, the carnation also represents marriage or a promise of love. Here it is set off by wheat ears, representing wealth and prosperity. Enticing prospects indeed…  

An unpublished and mysterious envoi by Stendhal

On 24 September 2020, by Claire Papon

This copy of Le Rouge et le Noir (The Red and the Black) is an addition to the five containing autograph envois hitherto referenced. A rarity, then, which bibliophiles are sure to fight over...  

Henri Beyle aka Stendhal (1783-1842), Le Rouge et le Noir (Scarlet and Black), A. Levasseur, Paris, 1831, first edition in two octavo volumes, half-title, title embellished with a vignette by Henry Monnier engraved by Porret, period black half-calf binding and coded autograph envoi by the author.
Estimate: €40,000/60,000

The volumes are complete, and only passing time has marked the fine vellum with small spots and slight foxing: defects that will hardly dampen the enthusiasm of collectors, or perhaps institutions... Once, only five specimens of the first edition were known with an autograph envoi on the title page, and only one featured a name: Baroness Charles de Rothschild's copy, still in the family. The others indicate "the author's homage" and of these, two have intimate provenances: Félix Faure's copy and that of Adolphe de Mareste (1784-1867), Stendhal's almost daily companion from 1821 to 1830. These copies are probably the most mysterious, with their coded envoi "Hommage de l'auteu [r] P.241. A.29". While at the time certain envois were frequently cut short (here the letter "R" is missing), since bookbinders did not take them into account when guillotining, the meaning of this ex-dono remains as enigmatic as for its recipient, very probably a woman. Does "P. 241" indicate page 241, and "A.29" the year 1829? Written between October 1829 and August 1830, Le Rouge et le Noir was first published by Levasseur in Paris on 13 November 1830, although the first edition indicates 1831. In April 1829, Stendhal fell in love with Alberthe de Rubempré (1804-1873), nicknamed "Madame Azur" because she lived in Rue Bleue. Their brief affair - "one month at the most" - was complicated, as the lady continued to have intimate relations with her cousin, Eugène Delacroix. To arouse the jealousy of the young woman (whom he loved "frenetically", as he said), Stendhal courted Virginie Ancelot (1792-1875), a woman of letters and painter, whose salon he attended in Rue de Seine. We know that he sent a copy of his novel to both of them...

Wednesday 30 September 2020 - 14:00 - Live
Salle 15 - Drouot-Richelieu - 9, rue Drouot - 75009
Tessier & Sarrou et Associés
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