Précis historique de l'ordre royal, hospitalier-militaire du S.-Sépulcre de Jérusalem [...].
12mo (105 x 172 mm). XI, (1), 201, (1) pp., final blank leaf. Printed on strong wove paper. Contemporary giltstamped red morocco with gilt fleur-de-lys borders, arms of the Order of the Holy Sepulchre to both covers, and spine-title. Leading edges gilt, inner dentelle gilt. Blue silk endpapers. Leading edges gilt. All edges gilt.
Only edition of "considerably rare little work" (cf. Saffroy) in connection with the great project of re-establishing the brotherhood of the Knights of the Holy Sepulchre. Includes a history of the order as well as its statutes and a list of the knights active between 1740 and 1815.
The history of the Knights of the Holy Sepulchre is a complex one, involving several attempts at institutionalization as well as competition in the form of confraternities since the Middle Ages. The order founded by St Louis in 1254 lasted until 1792, and included as ex-officio members several Princes of the Blood. From 1814, the Count Allemand, general administrator of the Order of Malta for France, worked to revive the brotherhood: he obtained an informal approval from Louis XVIII, but saw his efforts foiled by the opposition of Chateaubriand.
The title of general administrator, which Allemand bore at the time of the publication of the work, has been stricken from his name in ink (on the title-page as well as on pp. XI, 1 and 199) by a hand indicating his successor, Count Jacques-Louis-François Delaistre de Tilly, an officer of the Ancien Régime who became a general of the Empire. Tilly's name and title are added by hand at the bottom of the list of knights (p. 201).
Slight foxing to velin stock. A fine copy in a charming, richly gilt luxury binding. Rarely seen at auction.
Saffroy 6300. OCLC 1067878144.