London: C. Cooke, . Second illustrated edition. Finely bound in contemporary full straight grain morocco with gilt to spine and boards. All edges and turn-ins brightly gilt. Burgundy silk moire endpapers. Front endpaper a bit loose but holding well; some light spotting to rear pastedown. Internally a lovely copy, with just a hint of foxing throughout and light offsetting near the plates. Bookplate of Charles and Virginia Baldwin to front pastedown; ownership signature of Virginia Baldwin to front flyleaf. Charles Baldwin was an early member of the Grolier Club and influential architect in San Francisco, while his wife Virginia Baldwin was a philanthropist and the daughter of sawmill and mining magnate Walter Scott Hobart. Both bibliophiles, the Baldwins constructed a home and library in Colorado modeled after Marie Antoinette's Trianon -- much as Henry and Arabella Huntington would do later in California. The Baldwin Family Papers reside at Carnegie Special Collections at Pikes Peak Library.
Inspired by Voltaire's Alzire, a play set during the Spanish conquest of Peru, Madame Francoise de Grafigny began researching the history of the Incas in preparation for a novel. The result was a highly successful epistolary novel following the Princess Zilia's abduction by Spanish soldiers, her rescue by the French, and introduction to European society. Told from Zilia's perspective as she writes to her betrothed, Aza, the novel focuses on the dangerous contingencies of women's experiences at times of conflict; and it keeps the reader in suspense about whether Zilia will ultimately be allowed to return to her nation and lover, or if she'll be force to remain in France. Grafigny also takes the opportunity to satirize the social conditions of French woman; and Zilia, as an outsider, comments on inequities of education, domestic labor, and access to the arts. First translated to English in 1782, Cooke's produced two illustrated editions in 1795 and 1799.
ESTC N11324. Near Fine (Item #3152)