Le Flambeau de la Navigation... was bid to a rather lower than hoped for, but record £85,000 at Christie’s (25/20/13.5% buyer’s premium).
This was a first French language version of Willem Blaeu’s Het licht der see-vaert of 1608 published in Amsterdam by his competitor, Jan Jansson.
The three parts bound up in this one oblong folio volume present Blaeu’s original instructions in the art of navigation and two sections on ‘Western and Eastern & Northern’ navigation that feature 42 re-engraved charts, all bar two of them double-page, along with other diagrams. Two of the latter originally featured moveable volvelles, but one is now missing.
This was a copy acquired in 1636 and bound in red morocco gilt for the renowned astronomer and naturalist Claude Fabri de Peiresc – presumably by Simon Corberan, his regular binder at Aix-en-Provence – and subsequently owned by Louis de Freycinet, the French circumnavigator who first mapped the outline of Australia.
The sale took place on June 5.