French Royal Bindings of the 17th-19th Centuries

Books with Royal Bookplates

Louis Auguste de Bourbon

Louis Auguste de Bourbon, Duke of Maine (1670-1736) was a legitimised son of the French king Louis XIV and his official mistress, Madame de Montespan. At the age of four, Louis-Auguste was made a Colonel-General of the Swiss Guards. In 1688, Louis Auguste was raised to the rank of a capitaine général des galères (General of Galleys of France), then Lieutenant General. Up to 1718, by Louis-Auguste was a member of the Regency Council and performed the duties of tutor to the young Louis XV. In 1718, after long intrigues of Philip of Orleans, the Duke of Maine was deprived of the title of prince du sang and excluded from the affairs of the State.


Mercure Galant dedie’ a Monseigneur le Dauphin. Janvier 1708. — Paris : chez Michel Brunet, 1708.

8o (87 x 150 mm). A red marocain binding with gold embossing. Louis Auguste de Bourbon's super ex libris — the coat of arms is placed on the front and back covers, the fleurs-de-lis are on the spine (is established by: OHR, pl. 2603, no.6).

Shelf mark: 16.44.5-7.1a

Magazine «Mercure Galant (Gallant Mercury)». 1708 Magazine «Mercure Galant  (Gallant Mercury)». 1708

Despite the disgust that Louis Auguste de Bourbon felt for military service, his coat of arms and bookplate show battle flags and cannons. The National Library of Russia possesses only one publication with his super ex libris — this is the issue of the magazine Mercure Galant (Gallant Mercury) for January 1708. Nine issues of this periodics are kept in our library with super ex libris of his brother, Louis Alexandre de Bourbon.

The Mercure Galant (Gallant Mercury) is one of the first regular French magazines. It was founded by the writer Jean Donneau de Visé in 1672, it was originally published every three months. On the one hand, the magazine published reports about the victory of French arms in Europe and the New World, on the other hand, it informed society about life in the court and on the news of art and theater. The Mercure galant became incredibly popular and was issued monthly since 1677. The audience of the magazine increased, it covered a broader range of topics: they included criminal news and common gossip, tips for good health and travel notes, literary criticism and poems, obituaries and vampire stories. From 1679 to 1710, the magazine was dedicated to Louis the Grand Dauphin, as evidenced by the inscription on the title page ("Dedie` a monseigneur Le Dauphin") and the coat of arms of the heir to the French throne under it.