A BOOK FROM NAPOLEON'S LIBRARY AT ST. HELENA
A very rare find, a book from Napoleon Bonaparte's library from his second exile on the island of St. Helena, where he would die in 1821. The book was presented and named to him by an admirer, and yet bears the remnants of his wax seal within. This example is titled in French: 'The Art of Verifying the Dates of Historical Facts, Charters, Chronicles, and Other Ancient Monuments, Since the Birth of Our Lord' (Paris: C. F. Patris), 1818. 500pp. 8vo., in brown leather with marbled endpapers. Spine bears double bands of gilt trim, overall very good. The contents largely concerns the history of the Middle East and Europe, Malta, and France, concentrating on royalty, caliphs, etc. The verso of the second flyleaf bears a simple, bold presentation inscription: 'Napoleon from E. V. Holland'. The half-title page bears a small, circular stamp, illegible. At the top of the title page appears a black stamp showing Napoleon's coat of arms. This same stamp is routinely found in all of the books from Napoleon's library at St. Helena. It was created by Marshall Bertrand with great difficulty, and it is now kept at Malmaison. At bottom there is a second stamp from the library of the 'Couvent des Capuchins' in Le Mans, which apparently initially received this volume following Napoleon's demise. Finally, on the first page of text, Napoleon's benefactor again writes: 'Napoleon, from E. V. Holland'. The donor was Lady Elisabeth Vassal Holland (1771-1845), a keen admirer of the exiled general. Her husband, Henry-Richard Fox Holland (1773-1840) made numerous unsuccessful attempts to have Napoleon allowed to travel to English lands during his confinement. Some of the books and other items she offered Napoleon also bear the notice that they had been sent with the 'permission' of Lord Henry Bathurst, who was responsible for Napoleon's detention and all items sent to him on St. Helena. Included is additional reference material showing the use of Napoleon's seal in other such books from his library, and other books donated by Holland to Napoleon while at St. Helena with exactly the same inscription. The book is overall fine condition, and would be an excellent addition to any bibliophile's collection.