Duchesse de Berry's 200 Volume Library to Auction
An estimated 1,000 works of art, rare books, and precious objects from the personal collection of the descendant of the founder of Hermès are to offered in four auctions by Sotheby's Paris, December 13-15.
Hubert Guerrand-Hermès (1940-2016) was passionate about art in all its forms. A member of the famous luxury goods family, a keen sportsman and a familiar sight in the auction houses and antiquaries of Paris, his collecting activity ranged across a multitude of interests. Over the course of his life, he amassed a unique collection which he displayed in his magnificent Parisian residence, the Hôtel de Lannion. In the opulent rooms of the grand townhouse facing the Musée d’Orsay, and decorated by interior designer François-Joseph Graf, he surrounded himself with rare books and masterpieces by some of history’s greatest cabinetmakers including a pair of important marquetry bookshelves by Nicolas Petit.
Underpinning the collection is a fascination for Marie-Caroline of Bourbon-Two Sicilies, the Duchesse de Berry, the radical and rebellious daughter-in-law of King Charles X, and great patron of the arts. This is visible in all the rooms of his hôtel particulier, from the staircase, which is hung with views of the Duchess’s castle (the Château de Rosny), to the library that contains 200 volumes bearing her crest.
The Duchesse de Berry (1798–1870) was one of the most famous and fascinating aristocratic figures of the 19th century. Born Marie-Caroline of Bourbon-Two Sicilies in 1798, the eldest child of Prince Ferdinand, the future King Francis I of the Two Sicilies, and Archduchess Maria Clementina of Austria, she led an adventurous and courageous life in the turmoil of French politics. As a patron of the arts, she was an enthusiastic collector, with a passion for music, botany, garden design and literature – her library in the Château de Rosny was legendary.
The offering features some 500 lots relating to the Duchesse de Berry, including books, memorabilia and works of art, to be presented in two sessions.
Guerrand-Hermès’ love for books and passion for the Duchesse de Berry merged in his library which included 200 volumes from the Duchess’ collection. Binded by Simier and bearing the Duchess’ crest, these books range in genre, including fiction, travel, history and science. Among highlights is a rare example of the Rituel de l’abbaye de St Germain des Prez by Nicolas Jarry.