The results achieved at Sotheby’s on Thursday 6 November in Paris honoured a precious and refined collection of illustrated books, from the 16th to the 20th century. This sale achieved a total of €2,344,179; 85.1% of the lots were sold, and 65% of the lots were sold well above their high estimate. The highest bid, €265,000, went to the fabulous “Recueil Julienne” illustrated by Antoine Watteau in a Padeloup morocco with the arms of Tsar Alexander I of Russia from the Hermitage library. It was followed by the €103,500 bid for the famous copy on vellum of Histoirenaturelle des perroquets, 1801-1805, written by the great French ornithologist François Levaillant, illustrated with 145 beautiful colour plates by Jacques Barraband.
The collection of great bibliophile Carlo De Poortere includes some of the most beautiful works of engraving of the 18th century. Featured are an exceptional copy of Watteau bound in red morocco by Padeloup and acquired by Tsar Alexander I of Russia bearing the stamps of the Hermitage; La Fontaine’s Fables illustrated by Oudry in a sumptuous binding by Douceur; a rare coloured version of Seligmann’s Recueil de divers oiseaux étranger; Levaillant's L'Histoire naturelle des perroquets (145 beautiful coloured plates by Barraband); copies with prestigious provenances (such as Marie-Antoinette, Maria Fedorovna…); many illustrated editions enriched with rare sets of etchings such as Baron Portalis’ copy of La Fontaine’s Fermiers généraux edition and a beautiful collection of almanacs. The three finest collections of Goya (La Tauromaquia, Los Caprichos and Los Desastres de la Guerra) will be sold in the 19th-century section. Amongst the oldest books, Le Songe de Poliphile (1499), the atlases of Ptolemy, Blaeu and Jansson will be offered.