Gold-stamped arms of Jacques Auguste de Thou (1553-1617)

The gold-stamped arms of Jacques Auguste de Thou, French historian and politician, from Jacob Middendrop's work on monasticism, Originum anachoreticarum sylva (Koln, 1614). In spite of his immersion in political life, being a councillor of state to Henri III and Henri IV, and also president of the Paris parlement, in which position he attempted to promote the cause of religious toleration by helping to negotiate the Edict of Nantes with the Huguenots, his main achievement was to advance a scientific and impartial approach to history writing through his own Historia sui temporis. The reaction of the Catholic establishment in France was extremely unfavourable and the second volume was put on the papal index of prohibited books. In spite of this he is regarded as a pioneer in historical writing. De Thou was also director of the Royal Library from 1593, and in the meantime also amassed a sizeable library of his own, which continued to be developed after his death by friends and family until 1680, when it was sold and dispersed. Consequently there are many volumes which bear his arms in some form or another. This particular volume bears a device which has a monogram of his initials interlaced with those of his wife, Gasparde de la Chastre, beneath the arms, and which also appears on the spine of the volume between each band.

Gift of George Udny Yule.