When Private Libraries and Lives Converge - The Music Library of Jean-Baptiste Christophe Ballard, Sole Music Printer to the King of France, 1750 Inventory of his Grand Collection Brought to Light.
Copyright © by Tula Giannini, 2005

*This article brings information science  contexts and perspectives to my original article on the music library of JBC Ballard which includes the complete transcription of the 45 page inventory of Ballard's music library, and index of composers and manuscript plates.

Introduction - Private Libraries and Personal Spaces

Private libraries, particularly of important figures in the arts, not only reveal a great deal about the collector, his relationship to his collection and its subject matter, but also, shed light on the cultural milieu and artistic taste of the time in which he flourished. In fact, a private library in the life of its reader often becomes one in the same with the reader's life, work and passion. This study reveals such relationships - as it brings to our attention for the first time, the inventory of the music library of Jean Baptiste Christophe Ballard, sole music printer to the King of France from 1705-1750. Focusing on a time when pubic libraries did not yet exist, the study of private libraries seems all the more important. Although some inventories of book publishers and printers of this period are known, inventories of personal music libraries are extremely rare indeed. Given the unrivaled position in French 18th century music printing occupied by the Ballard family over more than two centuries (c1550-1750), Ballard's collection takes on all the more significance. Besides the inventory of his library, other pertinent archival documents heretofore unknown, are brought to light contributing new information and insights into music repertoire in France during the Ancien Regime.

Private Libraries in Public Places

Moving from books and texts in the life of the reader - to the library in the life of the reader seems to shift emphasis from the reading of specific texts and all that it implies, to the relationship between a library (collection and place) and a reader/user. In the case of important artistic and historical figures as Ballard, the library in the life of the reader can transform to "the library is the life of the reader," or the library and the reader are one. I observed this phenomenon, as Curator of Musical Instruments at the Library of Congress (LC). In my charge, was the Dayton C. Miller Collection, which, was in fact the personal library of D.C. Miller, the renowned acoustician/physicist and friend of Albert Einstein. Considered to be the largest and most important "study collection" on the flute, it contains about 2000 musical instruments, 10,000 books, 2000 prints of musical iconography, correspondence of makers and players, manufacturers catalogs, about 10,000 18th and 19th century music prints, several thousand photographs including glass plates, archival materials, figurines etc. Miller's bequest to LC stipulated that the collection remain together as a "study collection" and as such retain its original character and organization as conceived by Miller himself (he was to come to LC to curate the collection but he died suddenly in 1941). Another example, is that of the Schiede Library of rare books, medieval and music manuscripts which came to Princeton University's special collections with the stipulation that the collection be housed in a separate wing that replicated exactly the library of its collector, William Schiede. Thomas Jefferson's library at LC retains the integrity of a private collection and remains a defined library both physically and bibliographically, as does the King’s Library at the British Library. 

The instincts of a Miller or a Schiede are not unfamiliar to the average reader, as they seek to find a personal place and collection within the boundaries of a public library (meaning libraries having public access).

The tension implicit between library and reader often translates into user services that address the reader's desire to make a public library a personal place. The tradition of study carrels in research libraries speaks to this most directly. Other services, such as placing material on reserve shelves, and reading rooms designed with individual desks and lamps, also connote this. And too, the virtual library world creates its private libraries using for example, the "mylibrary" concept that allows users to customize their digital space to create the sense of a personal library. This suggests that the degree to which a user can create a personal library within a public library becomes a measure of user satisfaction. From a vast collection of titles, a user selects a group of books and materials that inscribe a personal library.

Thus, there are many private libraries within public libraries. In the library for the 21st century, technology increasingly provides for personalization and customization especially as hand-held devices allow for more flexible use and design of study space. This trend will likely continue and might serve to guide libraries in the development of services that strengthen the library as place. As users seem drawn to libraries in which they can establish a sense of personal space, they feel more satisfied and fulfilled with their library experience.

The importance of private libraries is clear from their contribution to the development of public libraries in America, especially as concerns research libraries which underscores the need for independent study and of a place for independent learning where users can define and create their collections. Visit a study carrel in a library, and you will see a private library within a public library. The reader's books and materials surround his study area and proscribe his path through the forest of knowledge.

In France through the first half of the 19th century, for music printers and others in the arts and métiers, business and home were located at the same address. Given this relationship between life and work, private libraries served as the personal knowledge base for both. With industrialization in the second half of the 19th century, this relationship changed as work separated from home and laborers traveled to a factory. The industrial model persists today, but is challenged now because of advances in technology that encourage working at home and outsourcing.  Surprisingly, these developments hearken back to pre-industrial models of work. Similarly, library work, be it of the user or librarian, can now occur at home or at work.

If home is the first space, work the second, public space such as the library is the third space. As first and second space merge, the library may serve as the second space, and as such, take on new roles in the life of the user.

For Ballard, home space and workplace were inseparable and defined his physical reality and intellectual life. Ballard's inventory shows that his music publishing business, its printing shop, stock of music prints, book collection and personal music library converged in one location - his home on rue Saint Jean de Beauvais in Paris. An important resource for the study of private libraries in France is the inventaire après décès (inventory after death), and other legal documents such as papers of incorporation and partnership (société), sale of a business and property (vente), auction of a business (enchère), and marriage contracts inventorying personal property. Robert Darnton points out that "French scholars studying reading across the social strata often rely on inventaire après décès which he counts as a limited source due to their lack of detail. (Darnton 1990) Although useful inventories are lacking for the study the common reader, inventories of libraries of important artists and personages, are often extensive, detailed and are reasonably well represented in notarial archives, thus providing a window onto a life in reading. By contrast, inventories of personal music libraries in France during the Ancien Regime are extremely rare making Ballard's 45 page detailed inventory of his music scores a truly an exceptional find.

My research on information seeking behavior in real and virtual environments indicates that users bring their virtual information seeking behavior to the library, as well as their expectation for the comforts and privacy of home. (Giannini 2002)  In conflict with these expectations has been technology itself - with terminal displays that are easily readable by nearby users, which may cause librarians to judge a user's displayed material. New trends in information technology that place small but yet powerful devices in the hands of users offer new hope for user privacy. The paradox of privacy in public space is at the heart of the library experience. Users want a sense of community, but at the same time want to stake out a personal space within it. Addressing this seeming contradiction is crucial to the future of libraries. The tension between public and private space is underpinned by Hegel's philosophy of dialectics. The library in the life of the user, is one that the user defines, whereas, the library defines the user in the life of the library. Which vision of the library should prevail or can both be justified? Comparing users seeking information at home and in the library, it is clear, that users are less and less willing to adjust to artificial systems of knowledge organization and public place that fail to accommodate personal needs. As more people work at home, private libraries will be more necessary as the bridge between the conceptual space of working, knowing, accessing and using information.

The Ballard Family of Music Printers: Privilege and Continuity

The Ballard family of music printers held exclusive royal privilege for printing music in France for over 200 years beginning in 1551 with their association with Adrian Le Roy. Jean-Christophe Ballard's vast collection of musical works is listed in his inventory after death. Described meticulously over 45 pages, it is set along side the 100 pages of music titles found in his music store. Surprisingly, his library includes a stunning collection of Italian music by both well-know and obscure composers, which accounts for some 40 percent of the collection. Although his music library spans three centuries, the 17th century collection represents its central component. This study focuses on the music library inventory with statistical collection analysis and commentary. Additional archival documents on the Ballard family recently discovered by the author add important historical data. Together, these shed new light not only on music repertoire during the French Baroque, but importantly, on Ballard's musical vision as an expression of his personal taste, and as a reflection of French taste contemporary to his time.

From the perspective of today's world of digital media and open access to publish via the Web, it seems difficult to fathom the level of control and influence the Ballard family was able to exert on music printing in France. Proceeding from the intersection of historical musicology and archival research, this study, which stems from my research at the Archives Nationales, is based upon unpublished documents of the Minutier Central concerning the Ballard family of music printers. Given this large corpus of new detailed information, I have chosen to focus on Jean-Baptiste Christophe Ballard's personal music library, a 45-page document annexed to his inventory after death. The 91-page title list and description of Ballard's music store and workshop, also annexed to the inventory, no doubt merits future publication. In addition, other documents from the Minutier concerning his family relationships are explored. These documents, taken together, shed new light on Ballard's musical perspectives. In view of these purposes, references to secondary sources are limited, as the article does not attempt to be a broad study of the Ballard printing dynasty, but rather, it examines its subject through the lens of these specific documents which in of themselves enrich our knowledge of Ballad's music enterprise in France.

Enjoying a virtual monopoly for music printing in the French capital for more than two centuries by virtue of their exclusive privilege as printers of music to the Kings of France, this dynasty began in 1551 with Robert Ballard's association with Adrian Le Roy under Henry II and continued through most of the reign of Louis XV. The social institutions controlling the printing trade, as with other trades, were maintained by communities of the "arts et metiers" that were sanctioned by the King and to which official membership was requisite and extremely limited. Often, marrying the daughter of a master artisan was the surest means of acceptance (1). Given the role of family relationships, the Ballard family took advantage of this social system by establishing family ties to leading printers and publishers such as Le Roy, Boivin, Montéclair and Dumesnil.

A Unique Ballard Inventory, the Music Library
First page of the inventory of Jean-Baptiste Christophe Ballard's music library, 11 May 1750.

The 1750 inventory after death of Ballard presents an in depth picture of the Ballard music printing and publishing business (3). Its 191 pages incorporate several separate inventories pertaining to the music business (fonds de musique) and include the shop (magazin) and boutique, the printing presses and characters, plates for engraving, and most importantly, Ballard's personal music library (bibliothèque de musique) housed in two armoires. As such, it stands apart from earlier and subsequent inventories of the Ballard family, as the only one to contain a personal music library in addition to the music that the firm printed and sold. Its representation of music published over two centuries, from about 1550 to 1750, spans the major period of production of Ballard music printers, suggesting that the collection was developed over that period of time cumulating with each successor to the business.

The Library's 17th Century Retrospective Collection Reveals a Predilection for 17th Century Music and Practice

Although Ballard's music library spans three centuries, the 17th century collection represents its central component. Indeed, as a core collection, it serves as a fulcrum between earlier 16th century practice, and emerging practices of the 18th century 17th century works dominate the chanson repertoire, as they do the Italian collection, and account for about half of the titles listed under methods and treatises. Similarly, Lully's works are at the heart of the opera collection. Ballard's print shop too was retrospective; his printing presses, characters and equipment were those inherited from his father's 17th century shop and he continued to print according to 17th century practice throughout his career. The social conventions governing Ballard's music business and bestowing his status as sole printer to the King were emblematic of the Ancien Regime at its height of influence, which steadily diminished in the 18th century. Although he died in 1750, Ballard's musical vision remained steeped in le bon goût of the early baroque.

The Italian collection

The public face of the Ballard music printing business is well recognized through, for example, its prints of Lully's operas, treatises, such as Hotteterre's Les Principes de la flûte and countless recueils of chansons. By contrast, the private music library of Jean-Baptiste Christophe Ballard (who is referred to simply as Ballard, or, in cases where he might be confused with other members of the Ballard family, as J.B.C.) opens a window on his personal taste in music and a means of understanding his sense of le bon gout. What seems quite surprising, is that his collection of Italian music accounts for a major portion of titles and is comparable in scope to his French collection. Ballard admired Italian music and collected it broadly. By the late 17th century, Italian musical style was being hotly debated in France; comparisons of French and Italian musical taste appear in numerous writings of the period lauding one style or the other. Several of these publications are found in Ballard's library. Given his close association with leading musicians and royal musical institutions, most notably the Opéra, his library stands as an important source of documentation and an invaluable tool for identifying Italian composers who were likely performed in Paris.

The noted French musicologists, Jean Duron and Jean Lionnet, each have written about Italian music in France at the end of the 17th century (2). Duron points out that the inventory of Nicolas Mathieu (d. 1706), curé of St.André des Arts in Paris, lists works performed there and "describes with exceptional accuracy for the time the contents of Mathieu's music library." Although, it specifies the names of French composers, for the Italian repertoire, it notes only "a package of motets of different authors from Italy." This leaves in question the identity of the Italian composers performed there. Duron concludes that, "the history of the presence of Italian music in France during the last quarter of the century remains, in great part, to be discovered." Both Duron and Lionnet cite the catalog of Sébastien de Brossard's music library (which he collected during his years in Strasbourg), as it includes a significant number of Italian composers, about 300, and stands as one of the few such inventories known. This apparent scarcity of sources for music library collections of the 17th and early 18th centuries underscores the significance of Ballard's music library, which by contrast to Brossard's represents Parisian taste.


Jean-Baptiste Christophe Ballard (1663-1750)

Ballard took charge of the music business at a time when instrumental music was emerging as a separate art form along with new models of musical instruments, especially the winds, and newly introduced instrumental methods and theoretical works. These were eagerly sought by musicians learning performing techniques of the new art. Instrumental and theoretical works published by the Ballard firm by composers such as Marin Marais and Jacques Hotteterre le Romain, were at the heart of creating a solo instrumental voice featuring the flute, violin and viole. Publications of instrumental music, now liberated from opera, became a major part of Ballard's stock. A strong interest in collecting and publishing instrumental music is reflected in his library for both French and Italian titles. In fact, instrumental music, especially for violin, both sacred and secular, makes up the lion's share of Italian titles.

Marriage contract, 1698

Ballard married Catherine Colin on 16 November 1698 (3). In consideration of the marriage, according to the customs of Pairs, his father made him an equal partner in the family business. The document of Société details the terms of this father-son partnership, and presents an inventory of the magazin. Comparison of the 1698 list with that of 1750, emphasizes how dramatically the number of titles and scope of works had increased during this half century. Of note, is a dramatic rise of instrumental music, (chamber and orchestral), methods and theoretical works, and the introduction of solo instrumental music featuring strings and wind instruments, among which, the transverse flute emerges as a leading solo voice.

Société Ballard pére et fils, 1698

Only a few days before the marriage on 11 November, Ballard and his father, Christophe Ballard, who were living together at the Montparnasse house on the rue Saint Jean de Beauvais, had formed a Société establishing an equal partnership in the music printing business and store, although he had been working with his father from about 1696 (4) Ballard’s marriage contract reveals that he brought to the marriage his half of the music printing business and shop that he then exercised with his father as well as half of his household, debts and monies owed. His ownership was based on the terms of the Société Ballard père et fils. Significantly, the document of Société contains an inventory of the tools and materials for printing under the heading "Inventory of the characters of music and plainchant in usage in the only printing shop for music in the kingdom," followed by an inventory of the "Catalogue of the books of music, plainchant and others that are sold in Paris chez M. Christophe Ballard, only printer to the King for music rue Saint Jean de Beauvais at Montparnasse 1698, with the number of the said books found in the shop of the said Sieur Ballard." The list presents no real surprises in that it represents the standard French repertoire of the period. Few instrumental works are found along side the large repertoire of vocal works, both sacred and secular, which underscores the newness of this genre. The instrumental works listed are as given below:

Fantaisie de Métru pour la viola, 100 copies.

Pièces pour les violons de differens auteurs à 4.p., 140 copies.

Airs et symphonie à 4. p. de M. Martin, 100 c.

Trios de M. Montéclair, 200 c.

Pièces d'orgue

Quatre copies de chacun des trois livres de M. le Bègue.

Pièces de clavecin:

Pièces de luth de Gaultier, 11 copies.

Trios de chacun des trois livres de M. Le Bègue.

Quatre livres de Chambonnières.

Deux livres de Danglebert.

Pièces de viole:

Deux copies des pièces et basse continue de Marais.

Pièces pour les violns, flûtes et hautbois:

Trios de La Barre, 8 copies

Trios de Marais, 2 copies.

Trios à la manière Italienne, 20 copies.

Airs Italiens, 100 copies.

Italian music is represented only by 120 copies of the motets of Lorenzani, no doubt stemming from his residence in France in service of the court from 1678 to 1693, and his French editions of Italian airs and trios in the Italian manner.

Madelaine Lambert sells a collection of Lully operas to Ballard.

A document of sale dated 17 July 1714 describes Ballard as "only printer to the King." Signed "Ballard fils," it establishes that by this date he had already taken charge of the firm. On this occasion, Madelaine Lambert, Lully's widow (Veuve Madame de Lully), pressured by her children, sold 2821 volumes of her husband's opera scores remaining in her possession to Ballard for the sum of 5154 livres. They had been in storage for some 27 years, since Lully's death in 1687.

Sole proprietor from 1715

A year later, at the death of his father, on 28 May 1715, the King granted Ballard's son, Christophe-Jean François Ballard, the survivance of his father’s post, stating that "our printer for music, vocal as well as instrumental upon retirement, so that his said father makes in his favor on the condition of survivance, that the said Ballard fils exercises conjointly with his father."

Ballard's son marries gaining entrée to the music business, 1739

On 16 June 1739, two weeks before his son's marriage to Dlle. Marie-Anne Geneviève Paulus Dumesnil, the Société Ballard père et fils was formed to set the conditions and financial arrangements under which they would work together; these were then inserted in the marriage contract:

Being present Sieur Christophe-Jean François Ballard only printer to the King for music, in survivance to Sieur his father, hereafter named, son of age of Sieur Jean-Baptiste Christophe Ballard, only printer to the King for music, noteur of the chapel of his Majesty representative of the booksellers and printers of Paris, formerly judge and counsel of the same city, and Dlle. Catherine Cottin, his wife; the said Sieur and Dlle. father and mother, living in Paris all three together in the house of Sieur and Dlle. Ballard at the top of the rue Saint Jean de Beauvais, parish Saint Etienne Dumont, for him and in his name on the one hand -

and, Dlle. Marie Anne-Geneviève Paulus Dumesnil living in Paris rue Saint Jean de Latran in the said parish of Saint Etienne Dumont, daughter of age of deceased Sieur Gilles Paulus Dumesnil printer, bookseller in Paris, formerly associate of the Community [of printers] and of Dlle. Madeleine Le Mercier, his wife; for her and in her name of the other hand.

In regard to the property of Sieur the future husband, they consent to the sum of 20,000 livres of which the said Sieur and Dame, his mother and father make a gift to him during their life and in advance of their future succession. By the agreement made and past between them the said Sieur his father associated with him for half in all the functions of their posts and in the business of his printing and store that become by this common means between them from the day of the said agreement, as a consequence of the sale that the said Sieur Ballard père with the consent of Madame his wife, made to the said Sieur future husband his son, and the half of all the business of books and agreements made in this matter with different authors, together with half of his printing business, of the stamps as well as his tools serving it even the shelves, counter and generally all that is kept there under three different keys, as much as the third and fourth floors of the house of Montparnasse where the said Sieur and Dlle Ballard and their son live, and in which is the printing business, as in the two stores in the said house where the books en blanc or bound or brochés are kept and also those that are in the grand magazin des Bernadins of this city, of which all, conforming with the agreement, there must be made from now, in three or four months, an general accounting in duplicate, of which one will be given to the said future husband; the said Sieur Ballard père has reserved to his particular profit only the books in plainchant and the characters, notes and tools that they require, also he brings to the agreement, the agreed price for the said half between the said Sieur and Dame Ballard father and mother and the said Sieur their son has been fixed at the sum of 75,000 livres, from which the Sieur and Dame father and mother consented that there be to the profit of the said Sieur future husband their son, the sum of 20,000 livres in advance of their future succession and in order to equalize a similar sum given in gift to each of the dames Trumeau and Boivin, sisters of the said Sieur future husband.

Thus, the notary included in the document of agreement (traité) the "accounting of the books requested by M. Ballard fils and which have been delivered to him by M. Ballard père" as well an "accounting for receipts and expenses which is signed by Messieurs Ballard père, fils and their wives in the desire of the act of termination of the Société and sale including a final accounting between them passed before the undersigned notaries 21 June 1741, following the minutes of agreement made between the same parties 16 June 1739." Significantly, with the exception of the masses of Orlande de Lassus, works by French composers constitute the list of 101 titles owned by Ballard fils in multiple copies, totaling 3274 copies evaluated at 25,000 livres. Treatises and methods contribute the largest number of copies per item. For example: 150 copies each of L'Affilard, Principes de flûte of Hotteterre, and the Méthode of Dupont, 100 copies each of Traité of Masson and Traité of Mignature, and 60 copies of Traité of Rameau. The number of copies per opera ranges from 12 to 50 with Festes de Thalie, Iphingénie and Hesione each at 50. Price per copy ranges form 2.10 livres (the price of Principes de flûte), to 36 livres for Recueils des parodies nouveaux. The 50 copies of Recueils des mots by Campra at 25 livres each amounting to 1250 livre, is the highest single entry. Operas range from 10.10 to 17 livres.

The accounting of receipts (one for the store and one for the printing business), appears following the listing of titles. "The total of general receipts of the Société de Sieurs Ballard, père et fils during 21 months, finishing the first of April 1741, reaches the sum of 36,317.11 livres," not including monies owed by Messieurs and Dames Boivin, Le Clerc, Lemaire and Clérambault. General expenses total 17,446.17 livres producing a profit of 18,870.14 livres which was divided equally between father and son (9435.7 livres each).

Ballard's Daughter Marries the Music printer, François Boivin, nephew of Montéclair, 1724

François Boivin married Ballard's daughter, Catherine Elisabeth Ballard, on 2 July 1724. Just a few days earlier, on 17 June, he ended the Société for printing and selling music at the sign of the règle d'or on the rue St. Honoré, that had been established under private signature 15 July 1721 between himself and the composer, Michel Pignolet de Montéclair, his uncle. The merchandise was evaluated at 29,500 livres which would be divided equally between them. In recognition of his nephew's marriage to Dlle. Ballard, he made a gift of 9000 livres. An inventory of the items belonging to Montéclair, annexed to the dissolution of the Société, includes plates (planches) for his music and several musical instruments. Most notable are two instruments from cremona: a bass that he used for the opera, and a violin. Plates in pewter for Italian music are listed, "for the duo of L'abbé Stefani, Bononcini etc., that we had made and engraved at common cost." Montéclair's Cremonese instruments and music plates exemplify the keen attraction felt by French musicians for Italian music and string instruments.

The Inventory of J.B.C. Ballard, 11 May 1750: a Treasure Trove of Music

The inventory was made at the request of Ballard's widow, Dlle. Catherine Cottin, his son, Christophe-Jean François Ballard, now the only music printer to the King, Charles Claude Trumeau, lawyer to Parlament, and Dame Françoise Catherine Elisabeth Ballard, his wife, all living in the Ballard house on the rue Saint Jean de Beauvais, and Dlle. Elisabeth Catherine Ballard, widow of Sr. François Boivin, merchant, bourgeois de Paris, living on the rue St. Honoré, parish St. Eustache, the three, inheritors, brother and sisters, each for one third of their father's estate. The description and pricing of the estate concerned not only the music, merchandise and tools located at the Ballard house but also material located at his other stops in Paris and at other locations.

Annexed to the general inventory of 47 pages describing the contents of Ballard's house, are three separate inventories: (1) 1e État, the music library, 45 pages, (2) 2e État, the printing and book selling business, 91 pages (fonds de librarie), made up of several sections, books of plainchant, music in the shop, gallerie, and other locations, the plates for engraving music, and general books on history, religion, literature and philosophy (in the store and Ballard's personal library), and (3) the tools and materials for printing, 8 pages.

Ballard died at home on 5 May 1750. The inventory was taken over 16 sessions (vacations), from 11 May to 28 September 1750.

The two inventories [états] that were handed over by bénéfice d'inventaire [The acceptance of the succession under benefit of inventory makes it possible for the heir to be withdrawn from the payment of the debts of the succession, beyond the credit collected in it], of deceased M. Ballard from the inventory made of the music business [fonds de musique] that we found after his death, in order to do the evaluation of it, the first État is of 45 pages and the second of 91 pages that I initialed, after examining them, not including the books of the church, the books of literature, the opera texts, and the book plates of the books that are engraved, I estimated them all at 20,000 livres.

Paris, 26 September 1750."

[Signed] Leclerc. [Charles Nicolas Leclerc (1697-1774), music publisher and violinist.]

We the undersigned, printers, book sellers in Paris, following the pricing made by us of the printing business [fonds de l'imprimerie] of deceased Jean Baptiste Christophe Ballard, having made the pricing and estimation of the fonds de librarie and that of the music, to which pricing we have employed 16 sessions [vacations], and estimated the said fonds de librarie following our conscience, be it known - that of the librarie at the sum of 10,050 livres, not comprising the packages left on deposit with the Queen, and that of the music for which we have called upon Sr. Le Clerc with the consent of the interested parties, at the sum of 20,000 livres. We have in this regard to his estimation: signed and initialed on the present copy, in two parts of which the first contains 45 pages and the second and last 91 pages.

[signed], Paulus Dumesnil Le Breton

Collection Statistics

One striking difference between Ballard's personal music library, the 1e État, the focus of this study, and the 2e État, the shop inventory, is that the former, contains a large collection of Italian titles representing about 40 percent (pages 25-44) of the 1050 or so works listed, whereas for the latter, Italian music occupies a relatively minor place. Of the 370 composers named in the 1e État, 88 are Italian and including three unidentified names: Jacobo Malese, Bernardo Tolini and Florentio Valentino. Several Flemish and Dutch composers are listed. (See index of composers.) Only three Italian composers are listed for the 16th century: Zarlino, Marenzio and Guami; nine for the mid 16th to 17th, 38 for the 17th, and 34 for mid 17th to 18th century. Given these statistics, and the publication dates of titles listed, it becomes clear that the heart of Ballard's Italian collection represents music composed in the 17th century.. A significant collection of about 100 methods and treatises is described on pages 16-19; many of these are instrumental methods. Among the works inventoried are found: 90 masses, 78 receuils, 69 sonata titles, and 104 collections of airs. Besides printed works, which account for the major portion of the collection, 70 works are engraved and 90 are manuscript.

2e État, An overview

The 91 pages of the 2e État begins by listing titles in packages indicating the number of examples per package. For example, the motets of Campra are given as four titles in 13 packages equaling 1008 examples. Three packages of masses by Bournonville père, total 534 examples. Thus, although the 2e État contains two times the number of pages, it lists many more times the number of copies. Unlike most inventories that price each item, Ballard's does not. Instead, the total stock and music library are evaluated at 20,000 livres, which is in fact, the exact sum that he and his two sisters each inherited at their father's death. Page 39 lists the sonatas for transverse flute by Quantz and surprisingly, "2. sonates pour la flûte traversière de Ripert," which constitutes the only known reference to these works thus establishing for the first time with certainty Jean-Jacques Rippert as a composer as well as woodwind maker. Published works that are assumed to be by him simply indicate "M. R." (6). In fact, flute music is well-represented in Ballard's library which is indicative of a time in France where the popularity of the solo flute was on the rise, and compared favorably with that of the violin in Italy (5). Pages 69-71 of the inventory of the magazin, list Italian titles showing that Ballard was selling Italian music at his shop. The 27 Italian composers included are named below as they appear in the document (names that also appear in Ballard's music library). Their works represent a range of genres dominated by sacred vocal music (masses, motets, cantatas), and instrumental sonatas, both sacred and secular.

Francesco Antonio Pistocchi, Bassani, Guiseppe Aldovrandi, Gio. Battista Allegri, Giocomo Batistini, Sebastiano Cherici, Pietro Antoni Fiocco, Alexandro Milani, Giovanni Le Grenzi, Francisco Petrobelli, Alexandro Grandi, Romualdo Honorii, Giuseppe Jacchini, Batista Gigli, Batista Mazzaferrata, Carolo Marini, Antonio Morini, Albinoni, Vitali, Bartolomeo Bernardi, R.P. Benedicte, Torelli Veronese, Pietro Degli Antonii, Corelli, Giovanni Bononcini.

Inventory of Ballard's library of books (bibliothèque du cabinet)

The inventory of Ballard's library of books, pages 82 to 91, describes some 482 volumes. Besides the usual volumes of Molière, Corneille, Rousseau, etc., the following titles provide some context to his social milieu:

Deux exemplaires de la vie civile by l'abbé de Bellegarde.

Reflections sur l'elegance by the same author.

Histoire de la revolution d'Irlande.

Dissertation sur la lotterie.

Amours de Louis le Grand.

Parallèle des Italiens avec des Français en ce qui regard la musique.

L'Histoire de Conseil de Trente.

Réflection importante sur la virginité.

De l'histoire de l'imprimerie et librarie.

Défenses des Italiens avec les Français.

La Critique de theatre anglois.

Le Nouvel l'art de la guerre.

Les Devoirs des maîtres et des domestiques.

Les moeurs des Israelites.

Evaluation of the printing shop

Above: A Printer's Workshop, 1642, Copper engraving by Abraham Bosse, French engraver (b. 1602, Paris, d. 1676, Paris), Museum het Rembrandthuis, Amsterdam.)

The description and pricing of characters, presses and tools for printing was annexed to the general inventory as required by law, and was taken over three sessions from 11 to 15 May 1750 by two distinguished printers and booksellers, Pierre Augustin Paulus Dumesnil, related by marriage to C.J.F. Ballard and André François Le Breton.

Printing shop inventory summary:

Six printing presses marked A to F valued at 380 livres.

Characters: 45 items weighing 18,098 livres estimated at 5085 livres and 22 items of tools and materials for printing for a grand total of 6092.4 livres.

Here follows a few sample entries for music characters:

Small music in two pairs of compartmental boxes for type [cases] and three forms in 12 composed and in models weighing 183 livres, priced at 54.18 livres.

Organ tablature, in a case of packages weighing 386 livres, priced at 5 sols [per livre] amounting to 39.5 livres.

Lute tablature in a case and packages weighing 386 livres, priced 5 sols [per livre] amounting to the sum of 96.10 livres.


A Fire Precipitates the Sale of Montparnasse and Bellérophon: a Golden Era Comes to an End

Just prior the final session of 28 September, a fire occurred in the house neighboring Ballard's. Consequently, the contents of Ballard's house and shop on the rue St. Jean de Beauvais were transported for evaluation to the convent of the Jacobins on the rue St. Jacques where he noccupied another shop.

Ultimately, this fire would trigger the sale of Montparnasse and the adjoining house owned by Ballard called Bellérophon. Both houses were united under the ownership of Christophe Ballard and valued at 20,000 livres according to the terms of a contract dated 28 October 1672. Christophe's father, Robert Ballard, gained full ownership of Montparnasse under the terms of three separate contracts with family members, the first dated 9 March 1644, with the other two dating from 1659. Bellépheron, which was adjoining to Montparnasse, was purchased over a 10 year period, 1654-1664, from four different owners. The fire, which took place in a building belonging to the nation of Germany, and which shared a wall and foundation with Ballard's properties, caused the "total decline" of both Ballard houses. Thus, on 5 June 1751, Ballard's children and his only inheritors, sold both houses for the sum of 8000 livres to Sieur Guillaume Bellanger, a master mason and building contractor in Paris. The decline in property value, from the original 20,000 livres to 8000 livres, as well as the damage to the contents was devastating. With the end of Montparnasse serving as headquarters of the Ballard firm, came a general reduction in the firm's production and influence. Thus, with the end of Ballard's stewardship of the music business, came the end to its golden era (7).

The 1765 Inventory of Christophe-Jean François Ballard's, Imprimerie and Fonds de Librarie

An inventory, description and pricing of the presses, characters and tools of the printing business was taken after the death of C.J.F. Ballard at his residence on rue des Noyers, parish of St. Bernard. Made at the request of his widow, Dlle. Marie Anne Geneviève Paulus Dumesnil, and his son, Pierre Robert Christophe Ballard, its total value was estimated at 23,050 livres by two distinguished Parisian printers and booksellers, André François Knapen and Michel Lambert on 16 September 1765. In all, they list seven printing presses priced at 1150 livres, characters weighting 22,970 livres priced at 20,212 livres and the tools priced at 2838 livres. The book business (fonds de librarie) was evaluated at 14,145.2 livres. It includes both a collection of books (by writers such as Flechier, Rousseau, Rabelais and La Fontaine, as well as year books, graduels, antiphons and dictionaries, etc.), and a music collection of titles by French composers (for example, Nivers, Dumont, Campra, Corrette, Blainville, Lully, Delalande, Lalouete, Lebègue, Morin, Colasse, Aubert, Brossard). Surprisingly, only a few treatises in multiple copies are listed: Nivers, 135 copies of Méthode de Plainchant at 130 livres, 34 Traité de musique by Masson at 12 livres" and "68 Principe's de la flûte by Obterre [Hotteterre le Romain] at 100 livres." This suggests that Hotteterre's Principes, first published in 1707, with five subsequent Ballard editions of which four were by J.B.C. (1720, 1721, 1722 and 1741), still enjoyed popularity 58 years later. Operas are represented by a collection of opera comiques at 100 livres, and operas priced at 560 livres which include Benserade, Lully, Campra, Colasse and Destouches. Together, the value of the printing business (imprimerie) and book business (fonds de librarie) totaled 37,195.2 livres. The absence of Italian music, and but a few titles of instrumental music stands in sharp contrast to the inventory his father's collection.

Some Collection Perspectives

Ballard's large collection of solo violin music featuring sonatas, both solo and chamber, and other instrumental works, is largely Italian. Lionnet's article on Sébastien de Brossard's music library focuses attention on well recognized composers who are not included in Brossard's collection. He this finds lacuna puzzling. For example, he points to the absence of works by Monteverdi and Corelli. Ballard's collection invites similar scrutiny. However, are not such objections in part a function of the imposition of modern taste? What seems particularly revealing and informing about Ballard's collection is that it reflects French taste from his perspective which would seem consistent with the mainstream of le gout Français of his time. Further, Ballard's library captures trends in music in France, and in particular, Paris, as they evolved and changed over two centuries, while also showing that counterbalancing these changes was the continual stream of publications of the wildly popular airs and chansons, a vogue which only waned with the French Revolution. The manuscript of Divertissemens pour les soupés du Roy by Delalande offers rare documentation that this specific repertoire in fact existed. The list of 29 cantatelles by Louis Lemaire reminds us that this once popular composer, genre and repertoire, evidently were valued by Ballard. The inventory establishes that Ballard collected both French and Italian music in a balanced fashion, and that he clearly cherished his 17th century collection among which were many works that remained popular well into the 18th century. Although he owned the major writings on the battle that raged between French and Italian style, his collecting depicts a man who knew and appreciated the qualities of each.

From about 1575 onwards, French musicians and instrument makers considered the Italian masters of violin making and playing in the highest esteem. Leading violinists to the King's music, and the 24 violins of the King, sought out the violins of the great Italian masters, Amati and Stradivarius, whose instruments they emulated as they did Italian violin music, most notably, the works of Corelli. The large number of Italian instrumental works for strings that Ballard collected speaks to that preference. As the publisher of much of Hotteterre's music, as well as his Principes for flute and Méthode for musette, Ballard and the great flutist-composer likely enjoyed a long-term friendship. Hotteterre's edition of Torelli's violin sonatas which are found in Ballard's library (p.26), would seem a reflection of their mutual admiration for the Italian in music, and for solo violin works.

Ballard's intense involvement in music printing, editing, publishing and collecting spanned more than half a century, c.1696-1750. During this time, he exerted an immeasurable influence not only on what music was published in France, but on musical taste itself. Although his official titles and posts gained through inheritance afforded him the means to accomplish this, it was his personal talent and musical vision that transformed his work to the highest level of musical achievement clearly evidenced through his music library. Regrettably, many of the works Ballard collected today are rarely heard in concert, In light of this, Ballard's collection takes on even greater significance, as it illuminates a detailed panorama of a glorious period of French musical culture instructive of le bon goût contemporary to his time and of a repertoire that needs to be revisited.

A Working Library in a Private Life

Ballard's library served the many facets of his working life as a printer, publisher, composer, editor and arbiter of French musical taste. It was a library that grew out of the necessities of his life and work, which for him, were inseparable. His was a working collection serving as his knowledge base and as a reflection of his broad musical vision. In contrast to this type of private library, are those assembled by collectors for their artifactual value rather than their functionality and representation of knowledge. Whereas the latter are independent of a working life, for the former, library and work are interdependent.

In his essay, "The Sad Demise of the Private Library," James Shapiro sees the private library in terms of physical books to be collected as objects of enduring value. He is fearful that, "the personal electronic library largely will have replaced the kind of libraries to which intellectuals have turned for a couple of thousand years." (Salwak, 1999) On the other hand, considering private working libraries in light of advances in digital technology, users are increasingly able to assemble large collections that provide knowledge support to their daily lives and work. Once limited to the affluent, private libraries are being constructed in the lives of the average user. This revolutionary shift, will no doubt be transformational to the library as place. Users will come to the library not only with their information seeking behavior, but with a library in hand. One's personal working library will merge with the public library of place. The library in the life of the user will become ubiquitous and necessary to everyday life and work. Once a function of royal privilege as with Ballard, printing, publishing and having immediate access to the knowledge supporting one's work, is now within reach of the average person.


  1. Giannini's book (see "printed sources") on the Lot and Godfroy families of musical instrument makers, documents these relationships as they pertain to the Paris community of musical instrument makers. It shows that family ties were paramount as were working relationships between players, composers and makers, who were often one in the same person; Jacques Hotteterre le Romain provides a shining example of such a musician.
  2. Articles by Jean Lionnet and Jean Duron (see under "sources" below) in Le Concert des muses, Promenade musicale dans le Baroque Français, edited by Jean Lionnet. Versailles: 1997.
  3. All documents cited are from the Minutier Central, Archives Nationales, Paris. They are referred to by document title in the article text and listed in "manuscript sources" where they appear in chronological order.
  4. New Grove
  5. and Dictionnaire of Benoit, state that he moved to the house at his father's death in 1715, whereas this document states that he was living with his father from at least 1696.
  6. Giannini, Tula. The Flute in France, 1620-1860, New Documents and Perspectives. Scarecrow Press. Forthcoming.
  7. Giannini, Tula, "Jean-Jacques Rippert" in New Grove.
  8. The fire seems to explain the decline and sale of the Ballard music printing business after Ballard's death and certainly shows why the firm moved to rue des Noyers.

Manuscript sources from the Archives Nationales, Minutier Central. Paris. (chronological order, ascending)

Société, 11 November 1698, Christophe Ballard and Jean-François Ballard.

Sale, 17 July 1714, Madame de Lully to Jean-Baptiste Christophe Ballard.

Dissolution of Société and obligation, 17 June 1724, François Boivin and Michel Pignolet de Montéclair.

Inventory after death, 16 September 1765, Christophe Jean François Ballard.

Marriage Contract, 2 July, 1724, François Boivin and Catherine Elisabeth Ballard.

Agreement (Traité), 16 June 1739, Jean-Baptiste Christophe Ballard and Christophe Jean François Ballard.

Marriage Contract, 2 July 1739, Christophe Jean François Ballard and Marie Anne Geneviève Paulus Du Mesnil.

Inventory after death, May 11-28, 1750, Jean-Baptiste Christophe Ballard.

Sale, 5 June 1751, Christophe Jean François Ballard to Guillaume Bellanger.

Inventory of the printing shop, Christophe-Jean François Ballard, 16 September 1765.

Printed Sources

Darnton, Robert. The Kiss of Lamourette: reflections in cultural history. New York: Norton, c1990.

Dictionnaire de la Musique en France aux XVIIe et XVIIIe Siècles, edited by Marcelle Benoit. Fayard, 1992.

Duron, Jean. "Aspects de la Presence italienne dans la Musique Françoise de la Fin du XVIIe Siècle." In Le Concert des Muses, Promenade musicale dans le Baroque Français, edited by Jean Lionnet, 97-115. Versailles: 1997.

Giannini, Tula. Great Flute Makers of France, the Lot and Godfroy Families, 1650-1900. London: Tony Bingham, 1993.

_____________ "Comparing Information Seeking Behavior in Real and Virtual Environments," Proceedings of the Information Today 2002 Conference, New York.

Lionnet, Jean. Les Limites de "Gout Italien" de Sébastien de Brossard. In Le Concert des Muses, Promenade musicale dans le Baroque Français, edited by Jean Lionnet,117-124. Versailles: 1997.

New Groves Dictionary of Music and Musicians, edited by Stanley Sadie. London: Macmillan, 2001.

Salwak, Dale. A Passion for Books. London, Macmillan, 1999.

Schwartz, Judith L. and Christina L. Schlundt. French Court Music and Dance Music, A Guide to Primary Source Writings. New York: Pendragon Press, 1987.