Émilie Du Châtelet manuscripts auction in Paris

The following is an update to our October 1 post regarding the sale of Émilie Du Châtelet’s manuscripts in Paris on October 29:

The long-awaited auction of the Du Châtelet manuscripts discovered in 2010 took place in Paris last Monday. Results (which include commissions and taxes) can be seen at the Christie’s website.

The tone was set from the third lot, a handsome portrait of Émilie Du Châtelet, a copy of the Loir at Bordeaux. Estimated at 6000 euros, it was knocked down for 75000 to the French investment fund Aristophil.

Du Châtelet’s scientific notebooks fetched high prices, usually several times the upper estimate, same buyer.

The unpublished and previously unknown manuscripts on Newton’s optics, estimated at 60000, went for 230000. The main lot, the successive versions of the “Exposition abrégée”, reached 800000.

The manuscript of Voltaire’s “Éléments de la philosophie de Newton”, estimated at 70000, sold for 350000.

The Bibliothèque nationale de France was unable to intervene, given these figures, but is expected to be able to digitise several of the manuscripts.

The sale catalogue included a substantial number of archival documents. All, with the exception of two already available in public archives, were purchased by private treaty by the Archives de France prior to the auction and will join the 188 boxes of Du Châtelet archives acquired last August for the Archives départementales de la Haute-Marne at Chaumont.

A number of projects on and around Émilie Du Châtelet are already under way, please contact me for further details.

Andrew Brown
Fonds de dotation Voltaire
26 Grand’rue, F-01210 Ferney-Voltaire

Téléphone: 04 50 28 06 08
Fax: 09 59 34 42 11
Courriel: contact@fonds-voltaire.org
Site web: fonds-voltaire.org


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