Paris, Jean Fr. Josse, 1730.
12mo [161 x 95 mm] of (2) ll., 275 pp., (1). Bound in full contemporary red morocco, triple gilt fillet on the covers, spine ribbed and decorated with gilt fillets in the panels, inner gilt border, gilt over marbled edges. Contemporary binding.
“First edition of this delicious fairytale fantasy, one of the master-pieces of the genre, and one of the best productions of this famous author.” (Gumuchian, Les livres de l’enfance, 2930). Tchemerzine, III, 658; Picot, Catalogue Rothschild, n°1737).
“A copy in ancient roan has been sold 800 francs in 1931; it had been sold 80 francs nine years earlier. This tale was written by Hamilton to show the ladies of the Court, at the time wild about ‘One Thousand and One Nights’, that we could compose stories as incredible. This explains the extravagance that we find in it.” (Tchemerzine)
“The l. following the title comprises an advice where it is said that the reception of the public to the ‘Conte du Bélier’ convinced the bookseller to look carefully for the works composed by Hamilton to entertain his sister, the duchess of Gramont. We can see that ‘l’Histoire de Fleur d’Epine’ and ‘Les quatre Facardins’ were published together.’ (Picot)
“First edition of this delicious fairytale fantasy.” (Catalogue de Backer, n°1068).
“French writer born in Ireland towards 1646, Hamilton came in France with his family after the death of Charles I in order to escape the revolutionary vengeances against the faithful royalists. This is where he studied; but in 1660, when he was 14, he went back to England, for the reinstatement of the prince of Wales, under the name of Charles II, on the Stuarts’ throne, and he was able to finish there his French education, in a court where our language was really well spoken […] it is fairly that Voltaire placed him in his ‘Temple du gout’ (Temple of good taste) […] Whatever was his character, his mind was free, his imagination brilliant and easy, his taste was delicate and refined. By a cutting strangeness, it is Hamilton, a stranger, who, according to Voltaire, presents perhaps the most accurate image of the French mind […] ‘Fleur d’epine’ is totally delicious, if we want to refer to the purpose of the author, and let ourselves go, without judging them too severely, into all these enchantments he accumulated with such spirit and imagination. In a very different genre, the narration is hardly inferior to the one in the ‘Memoirs’; we find here the interest, taste, natural, and even a relative truth which is not incompatible at all with fairy tales: it is filled, according to the expression, with charming genre portraits, of which grace equals the variety.” (Nouvelle Biographie générale, t. 23, c. 233-236).
A precious copy of this first literary edition preserved in its elegant contemporary red morocco binding.