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Diderot's and d'Alembert's encylopédie: Two editions - two shelves

Subjects: French

Original edition - book plate

Original edition

Upper shelf in library shelves in Voltaire Room (facing you as you enter the room):

O) 1988 Taylor Institution (III) (V.Ref.2 Enc)

Original Paris [Neuchâtel] edition, vol. 1 1751, 2 1754, 3 1754. 17 volumes text, 4 supplement (1, 2 Nouveau dictionnaire, 3, 4 Supplement).

   Binding: plain brown calf, rebacked but with old labels kept. Lettered: DICTIONNAIRE / DES ARTS & / SCIENCES. Red speckled edges, plain laid end-leaves.

  Provenance: Engraved bookplates of Sir Sampson Gideon and Eardley. Sampson Gideon (1744-I824), the son of an important financier of Portuguese origins, was knighted (vice his father, then ineligible because he was a Jew) at the age of fifteen and while at Eton.

He married the daughter of the Chief Justice, Sir John Eardley Wilmot and in 1789 was created Baron Eardley in the peerage of Ireland.  Bought at Bloomsbury Book Auctions, August 1988.

Composite edition

Lower shelf in library shelves in Voltaire Room facing you as you enter the room:

F) 1878 Taylor Institution (I) (V Ref.2.Enc.)

Panckoucke's composite folio version, marketed around 1779.  Volumes 1-3 all 1754. 17 volumes text, 4 supplement, 2 tables, 11 plates, 1 suite. With prospectus and earlier version of frontispiece.

In volumes I (bar M2) - 4,6 and 11, this copy has the standard cancellantia above as well as the cancellanda, the former being bound in facing the original page as part of a bifolium ending in a stub to which a blank second leaf has been attached. These leaves (bar II 397 and XI 735) bear no asterisk.

Binding: Full lightly-patterned calf, blind triple fillet to the boards, spine gilt with bird and floral rolls head and foot, panels with a large central lozenge of a thistle, crowns at mid-points, stars around. Lettered on red labels: DICTIONNAIRE / DES / SCIENCES /. Curl marble end-leaves. Rebacked 1984 by James Brockman, the remains of the earlier binding and photographs being kept with the set. Binding probably English.

Provenance: Bought 1828. Earlier provenance unknown.

Glossary of terms


Calf: Calf or calf hide is the most common form of leather binding

Endleaf: Sometimes called endpapers are blank leaves or sections sewn in at the beginning or the end of the text-block

Reback:  To add a new backbone to a book without entirely rebinding