Jewels from the French Collection
On April 25, 2018, His Excellency Emmanuel Macron, President of France, hosted a town hall with GW students during his visit to Washington. This was the first state visit of the Trump administration. In honor of President Macron’s visit to Washington – and to the GWU campus – the University designated April 23-April 27 as “French Week” during which the Law Library and other departments across campus staged French-themed events, including exhibitions and lectures. The Law Library mounted an exhibit of some of the treasures of its French Collection, with materials dating from the twelfth through nineteenth centuries.
The exhibit provides a marvelous opportunity to examine at leisure eleven of the most important pieces in the French Collection, including early manuscripts (customary law, a deed, a charter, and a royal official’s will), an incunable printing of the Anjou and Maine customary law, two important “post-incunabula,” a first edition of Napoleon’s Code Civil, and a historically significant French Revolutionary pamphlet (printed July 13, 1789). Customary law, a particular focus of the French Collection, figures prominently in the exhibit, with both manuscript and print exemplars, including the 1580 Coutume de Paris; this copy of the celebrated redacted coutume, a specially-produced version on vellum, was made for Mathieu Chartier, one of its five jurisconsulte-redactors, and bears his coat of arms.
Two of the works displayed, the Pragmatique Sanction and Le Coustumier dAniou et du Maine, are clad in especially exquisite bindings; the artistic olive-colored Léon Gruel leather binding of the Pragmatique Sanction was viewed by hundreds of visitors to the Exposition Universelle in 1900 (Paris).F
The exhibit is located on the first floor of the Law Library, in the display cases next to Circulation. The exhibit will run through August, 2018.
Jewels from the French Collection presents the following works: