Monday, 21 July 2008

The Bookplates of the Claret Fleurieu Family

The French Claret Fleurieu De La Tourrette are a fine example of the love of books and the use of superlibris or bookplates by successive generations of the same Family. Here are some examples although others might appear:

Jean Claret (1620-1704)

The grandson of a needle merchant established at Lyon, he laid the foundations of the family’s social uprising by acquiring the fortified mansion of La Tourette, in 1681, from Jean Michon, bourgeois of Lyon, and by becoming an échevin (municipal magistrate) of the city of Lyon in 1689-90 and later obtained the office of secrétaire du roi, maison et couronne de France et de ses finances en la généralité de Lyon. The alliance between the two families was consolidated by the marriage of the latter’s daughter Bonne Michon to Jean’s son Jacques Claude Claret, in 1690.
The above superlibris is believed to have been used in his books.

Jacques-Annibal Claret Fleurieu de La Tourrette (1692-1776), Knight, baron d’Evreux, seigneur de La Tourette and Fleurieu.
A high magistrate of the city of Lyon – Prévot des marchands de Lyon (1740-45) and Président en la Cour des Monnaies.

A grandson of the above mentioned Jean Claret and the son of Jacques Claude Claret (1656-1741), Knight, seigneur de la Tourette, Fleurieu, Saint-Pierre, Eveux, Bélair, etc. Président à la Cour des Monnaies and his wife Bonne Michon, dau. of Jean Michon, a wealthy bourgeois merchant of Lyon who detained the fief of La Tourrette. His father was a patron of the Arts who built a valuable collection of paintings, books and numismatic.
In 1716, Jacques-Annibal Claret Fleurieu was admitted to the Academy of Lyon, becoming in 1736 its secretary for life. Having inherited his father’s love for books he greatly augmented the Library, reputed as one of the richest private libraries in Lyon, famous for its fine bindings and rare editions. Left many works in prose and verse unpublished.

Arms: argent, on a bend azure, a sun in his splendour or.
A shield supported by two eagles proper, with an earl's crown.
Legend: «Ex Libris Jacobi Annibalis Claret Delatourrette Equitis, Regi à consiliis in Supremâ Lugdunensi mon etalium Judicum curia praesidis, capitalium rerum Pratoris Primarii. 1719»

The Bibliothèque Municipale de Lyon holds however books in which appear bookplates dated «1740».

Charles-Pierre Claret de Fleurieu (1738-1810), comte de Fleurieu

A famous French statesman and scientist interested in the theoretical study of the nautical sciences.
The younger son of Jacques-Annibal Claret Fleurieu de La Tourrette, he entered the French Royal Navy becoming a distinguished Officer. In 1777, Fleurieu was appointed directeur des ports et arsenaux (inspector general of ports and navy yards) and from 1778 till 1783 he elaborated all the plans for the naval war against England, to assist the struggle for the independence of the United States.
In 1790, Louis XVI appointed him Minister of the Navy and Colonies but under pressures from the Jacobins at the Assemblée, he soon presented his resignation to the King. However, as a proof of his esteem, Louis XVI appointed Fleurieu, gouverneur du Prince-Royal - the future Louis XVII.
During the Terror he was imprisoned till the 9 Thermidor having lost all his fortune and properties. Under the Directory he was appointed to the Bureau des Longitudes and to the Institut and elected a member of the Conseil des Anciens in 1797.
In 1800, Bonaparte called him to the council of state and appointed him as Minister Plenipotentiary for the signature of the treaty ceding Louisiana to the United States.
In 1804 he became Intendant général de la maison de l'Empereur, governor of the Tuileries and the Louvre, grand officer of the Légion d’Honneur, a senator, in 1806, and was made a count of the Empire.

Napoleon honoured him ordering a national funeral and his burial at the Panthéon.
His Library and geographical collections were sold in an auction in 1798 (see, Catalogue des livres de la bibliothèque du C.***, dont la vente se fera en la maison d’agence et de commerce des citoyens Mauger, Amelot et Hubert, rue des Fossés-Montmartre, n° 4, le tridi 23 Prairial an VI et jours suivans, à cinq heures précises du soir., Paris, Hubert – Mauger, 1798)

Between 1793-98, he published many works on his travels, nautical sciences, the French Discoveries, hydrography, geography, botany and atlases.

(Sources: &

Robert de Saint-Loup, Dictionnaire de La Noblesse Consulaire de Lyon, Versailles, Mémoires et Documents, 2004
Sylvain Claret de Fleurieu, Histoire de la Famille Fleurieu
Pierre Forissier, Les Claret de Fleurieu, seigneurs de la Tourette – Une grande famille d’Evreux

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