Research group on private modern philosophy collections
Home » Index » Jean Chardin
linea divisoria
Jean Chardin

Jean Chardin

Paris 1643 - Chiswick 1713

Jean Chardin, a Huguenot jeweller, travelled twice to Asia (1644-1670 and 1671-1680) for business purposes. There he learned Turkish, Persian and, to a lesser extent, Arabic. Once religious persecution pushed him to leave France for England, Chardin was knighted by Charles II (1681), elected actionist of the English East India Company (1682) and fellow of the Royal Society (1682-1685). About Persia, lying at the heart of his travel experience, Chardin published Le couronemment de Soleïmaan troisième, roy de Perse (1671) and, most importantly, the Voyages de monsieur le chevalier Chardin en Perse, et autres lieux de l’Orient (1711), whose first volume was released in 1686. Best “ethnographer” of the Persian civilization of his time, an advocate of religious tolerance and a supporter of the value of experience over tradition in the pursue of knowledge, in his works Chardin often reveals the intense reading activity hinted at by his library. Among his lost works, some parts of his Notes sur divers Endroits de l’Ecriture Sainte can be found in reverend Thomas Harmer’s Observations on divers Passages of Scripture (1776, 2nd ed.).

Bibliography: Jean Chardin, Voyages du chevalier Chardin en Perse, et autres lieux de l’Orient, par L.-M. Langlès, Paris, Le Normant, 1811; J. Emerson, Chardin, Sir John, in Encyclopædia Iranica, V/4, pp. 327-328; F. Eshghi, Jean Chardin et sa présence dans les grands œuvres des philosophes du XVIIIᵉ siècle en France, thèse de doctorat dirigée par M. J.L. Lecercle, Université de Paris X, 1977; R.W. Ferrier, A Journey to Persia: Jean Chardin’s portrait of a Seventeenth-century empire, London-New York, I.B. Tauris, 1996; L. Labib-Rahman, Sir Jean Chardin, the Great Traveller (1643-1712/13), «Proceedings of the Huguenot Society of London», vol. XXIII, a. 1981-82, pp. 309-318; M. Longino, French travel writing in the Ottoman Empire: Marseilles to Constantinople, 1650-1700, London, Routledge, 2015, pp. 129-144; E.R. Samuel, Gems from the Orient: the Activities of Sir John Chardin (1643-1713) as a diamond importer and East India Merchant, in «Proceedings of the Huguenot Society», n. 27, 2000, pp. 351-368; D. Van der Cruysse, Chardin le Persan, Paris, Fayard, 1998; F. Wolfzettel, Le discours du voyageur: pour une histoire littéraire du récit de voyage en France du Moyen Age au XVIIIe siècle, Paris, Presses Universitaires de France, 1996, pp. 154-161.

Bibliotheca Chardiniana or, a Catalogue of Books In all Faculties: Being the Remains of Sir John Chardin’s Library… Will be sold by Auction at Tom’s Coffee-House in St. Martin’s Lane on Monday the 23d Instant … By James Levi, Londra, James Levi, 1713, 22 p. in-octavo.

Bibliotheca Chardiniana is an auction catalogue. James Levi, a London bookseller who organized the sale, was probably charged with its compilation after the owner’s death. The catalogue does not represent the entirety of Chardin’s library, as the title itself suggests (Being the Remains of Sir John Chardin’s Library). A part of the library could have been divided between his heirs, but Chardin’s last will, signed on September 20, 1711, does not provide any information about this.
The catalogue consists of 971 entries. This number can be obtained by taking into account that, in the section called Libri in Octavo & Duodecimo, the entries 292, 313 and 353 are lacking, while the entry 512 is repeated. In fact, this catalogue has been composed only by the size of the books, so that it is divided into three sections entitled Libri in Folio (80 entries), Libri in Quarto (170 entries), Libri in Octavo & Duodecimo (720 entries) respectively. However, the books are sometimes grouped by genres, topic, language or author (for example, the entries 543-561 in the third section are all works by Robert Boyle). This may suggest that the catalogue replicates at least partially the original structure of the owner’s library.
On the cover, limited information is given about the library’s content (consisting chiefly of Travels and History, &c. Greek, Latin, Arabick, English, French, Italian, Spanish, and Portuguese Books), while four sale conditions, signed by James Levi, are specified on the inside front cover.
A copy of the catalogue is held by the Beinecke Rare Books and Manuscript Library, Yale University. It is bound together with ten others catalogues (
BEIN X345/5: Catalogues, 1709, 1710, 1711). Credit line for the source of the original material: Beinecke Rare Book and Manuscript Library, Yale University.

icona toc Table of contents    icona scarica Download (pdf 3.34 MB)    icona sfoglia Browse

Emanuele Giusti (Firenze)
last modify: 2017-10-10 23:17:49