DESNOS (Louis Charles)

Dissertation historique sur l’invention des lettres ou Caractères d’écriture : sur les instruments dont les anciens se sont servi pour écrire et sur les matières qu’ils ont employées.

Paris, Desnos, 1771.

3 parts in one in-12 volume, marbled brown basane, triple gilt fillet, ornate spine with pencil compartment, gilt edges; binding and corners rubbed, without stylus (Period binding).

First edition of this history of writing by Louis Charles Desnos (1725-1805), bookseller, engineer-geographer for the city of Paris and Royal Globemaker to King Christian VII of Denmark.

This work is in fact a pretext for publishing an Instruction raisonnée sur le papier nouveau que Desnos avait inventé (8 pp.) followed by 48 sample sheets of this new paper:
He has a new paper that combines all imaginable advantages. This paper is of the ordinary shape and of any size, it has the same suppleness & folds as easily as ordinary paper; it is of a brilliant whiteness & so smooth, that it competes for polish with the most exactly manufactured ice.
It would be vain to compare the finest and smoothest Holland paper with this new paper. The latter will always prevail by virtue of the advantages that are peculiar to it.
The paper pages are introduced by an engraved title Almanach et tablettes polyptyques et Oeconomiques composed of a new paper as beautiful, white and fine as that of Holland.

The spine of the binding contains an ingenious compartment designed to hold the stylus invented by Desnos.

A copy of this work from Léon Gruel was part of Michel Wittock's library (Collection de Michel Wittock 2ème partie, Reliures à décor, Christie's, 2004 n°82).

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