From 16 September to 16 December 2023, the Versailles Library will be presenting a major exhibition showcasing its collections: "Treasures from the Versailles Libraries".
The exhibition will showcase rare and unexpected items (books from royal collections, the libraries of historical figures, objects and drawings), while also advancing knowledge of these items through a number of case studies. From cuneiform tablets to masterpieces of contemporary bookbinding, the exhibition will present both well-known and little-known treasures, based on a series of themes: age, illustrious author, prestigious provenance, rarity of the edition, splendour of the materials and aesthetic value.
Some of these books require restoration before they can be shown to the public, so the Fondation Etrillard is taking charge of restoring two extremely rare items: the Nouvelles exemplaires by Cervantes, first edition of 1614, José Maria de Heredia's copy, and the notebook of an assistant sculptor of Jean-Antoine Houdon.
These two manuscripts will be on display in the exhibition alongside other treasures, such as the "little secret book" written by Madame de Maintenon, Charles Collé's copy of La Partie de chasse de Henri IV - probably the first book bound with Marie-Antoinette's coat of arms - and Fragonard's original drawings for the Contes de La Fontaine.
Exhibition link : versailles.fr