[MacCARTHY REAGH, Count] Catalogue des Livres Rares et Précieux de la Bibliothèque de Feu M. Le Comte de Mac-Carthy Reagh. Bound with: Ordre des Vacations de la Vente des Livres Rares et Précieux. Together with: Liste des Prix des Livres de la Bibliothèque … de Mac-Carthy Reagh. Together with: Catalogue des Livres Rares et Précieux, d’éditions du XVe siècle, de livres imprimés sur vélin, et de manuscrits avec des miniatures, d’auteurs classiques, en grand papier, etc. Illustrated with two folded facsimiles. Two volumes. Paris: Chez De Bure Frères, Libraires du Roi et de la Bibliothèque du Roi, Rue Serpente, No. 7, 1815/1822. pp. (1) xxviii, 583, (2) [iv], 473, 15, , 38, 20. Titlepage illustrated with coat of arms. Quarter calf on papered boards with vellum tips on corners. All edges marbled. A very good set. Exceedingly rare. €1475 [L1 10B]
Count Justin MacCarthy Reagh was born at Spring House, County Tipperary, on 18th August, 1744, son of Denis MacCarthy, chief of the MacCarthy Reagh family, who owing to the severity of the Penal Laws went to France, where he died in 1761. Justin who was only seventeen at that time, realised his father’s property and settled at Toulouse. In 1776, by letters-patent of Louis XVI, the title of Count was conferred on him and he was admitted to the honours of the court. He married Winifred Tuite of Westmeath and they had a large family. Two of his sons, the Abbé Nicholas and Robert Joseph had distinguished careers.
Count MacCarthy was an accomplished linguist and classical scholar. He cultivated the fine arts and possessed one of the finest libraries in France, rivalling the king’s collection at Paris. After his death in 1812, the Duke of Devonshire bought the library for 25,000 guineas, but Napoleon forbade its export from France, and when it came up for auction three years later, it only realised £16,500. The Toulouse branch of the MacCarthy family became extinct in the male line in 1906 by the death of Count Nicholas MacCarthy.
Ramsden translates the following interesting passage from the foreword to the catalogue of the Count’s library made by the De Bure brothers: “Count MacCarthy, desirous that the elegance and beauty of the bindings should correspond to the excellence and rarity of his books, and as Toulouse, where he always resided, did not provide the facility for having them bound, which he could have had if he had lived in Paris, he obtained from London a skilful binder whom he kept for several years solely working for his library”.
His binder, Richard Weir was of Scottish extraction. Weir’s bindings are characterised by the wide borders and doublures. He was assisted by his wife who was skilled in ruling and paper repair.
Classified catalogue, with alphabetical indexes of authors and anonymous works. There are some 5,515 entries.