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(1620? – 1687)

(Born: c1620; Died: 1687) French librarian.

1. French, 1692 [Collection catalog].
Le | Cabinet De La | Biblothèque | De | Sainte-Geneviève. | Divisé En Deux Parties. | Contenant les Antiquitez de la Réligion des Chrétiens, des Egyptiens, & | des Romains; des Tombeaux, des Poids & des Médailles; des Monnoyes, | des Pierres antiques gravées, & des Minéraux; des Talismans, des Lampes | antiques, des Animaux les plus rares et les plus singuliers, des Coquilles | les plus considérables, des Fruits étrangers, & quelques Plantes exquises. | Par le R.P. Claude Du Molinet, | Chanoine Règulier de la Congrégation de France. | [ornament] | A Paris, | Chez Antoine Dezallier, ruë Saint Jacques | à la Gouronne d'or. | [rule] | M. DC. XCII. | Avec Privilege Dv Roy.

2 parts in one volume. [Part 1] 2°: π2 e2 A-Mmm2; 119l.; Engraved title page, [6], [1]-224, [8] p., frontispiece (portrait of du Molinet). [Part 2] 2°: Engraved title page, 45 engraved plates by Franz Ertinger (5 double-page).

Rare. A beautifully produced catalog of the important collection brought together by Father Claude du Molinet as an annex to the library of the abbey of Sainte-Geneviève in Paris. In his preface, Du Molinet writes that his guiding principle in building the collection of rare and curious objects was the should `be utilized in science, mathematics, astronomy, optics, surveying, natural history.' The collection was boosted by the acquisition of the greater portion of Fabri de Peiresc's [see note below] collection which consequently propelled du Molinet's effort into the first ranks of French collections.

Du Molinet divided the collection into two main sections, Antiquities and Natural History. The first is divided into those objects relating to (a) Christian religion, (b) the religion of the Egyptians and Romans, (c) the rites of burial, (d) Roman weights and measures. Coins, medals, engraved gems, talismans, and lamps then followed. The Natural History was divided into birds, animals, fish, fruits, plants, shells, stones and minerals.

The physical arrangement of the collection is carefully recounted in this catalog. Facing the entrance was a display of clothes and weapons from Persia, India and America, above which were three tiers of urns, lamps, nautical instruments, and other antiquities. Flanking this were two cabinets with specimens of petrifications, Indian birds, animals and footwear from various locations. Above were objects from China, various corals and other marine growths. The other sides of the room contained walnut cabinets containing the medal collection, which included Greek, Roman, Hebrew silver coins, papal medals, talismans and coins from far east countries. Other cabinets housed scientific instruments, precious and semi-precious stones, minerals, shells, stuffed animals and preserved fish. Bear spaces on the walls were hung with paintings, including a series of twenty-two pastel portraits of the Kings of France. The excellent plates of Ertinger, illustrate the room that housed the collection and also two large views of the library's interior, with a view of the Paris skyline visible through an open window.

Fabri de Peiresc. (Born: 1580; Died: Aix, France, 1637) French scholar & naturalist. Peiresc was a profound antiquarian who devoted his lifetime to scholarly persuits, travel, and correspondence with other scholars. He accumulated a library and collection of antiquities and natural curiosities from all parts of the world. But it is recorded that as quickly as many objects came into his possession he would gift them to other deserving scholars. For example, Athanasius Kircher records that many Egyptian items came into the Museum Kircherianium through Peiresc's generosity.

Bibliographical references: BL [459.e.22.]. Gatterer, Mineralogischen Literatur, 1798-9: 1, 271. Histoire des bibliothèques françaises. Edited by Claude Jolly. [Paris,] Promodis-Ed. du Cercle de la Librairie, 1988- . 4 vols. [History of French libraries.]: 1, pp. 22-23, 342-344 & p. 360. Murray, Museums, 1904: 1, 218 & 3, 80. Schnapper, Collections et Collectionneurs, 1988-94: 1, 282 ff. Sinkankas, Gemology Bibliography, 1993: no. 1803 [not seen]. Wunderkammer to Museum: no. 7. (Peiresc) ABF: I 815, 420-438. Biographie Universelle. Dezobry, Dictionnaire de Biographie, 1889. Feller, Biographie Universelle, 1851. Gassendi, P., Illustris Nicolai Claudii Fabricii de Peirese Vita. Paris, 1641. [Vivid biography of Peiresc]. Le Moyne, Nicolas Toussaint., Les siecles litteraires de la France. Paris, 1800-3. 4 vols. [Reprinted, Genève, Slatkine, 1971.]. Nouvelle Biographie Générale (Hoefer). WBI.