Thanks, and i think you are right about 1808. I was unsure of the vague link too so im glad you mention it.
So dumping Nerval from this and going back to places Hugo lived i did find he moved to a place called Couvent des Feuillantines (Convent of Feuillantines) in 1808. Hugo also wrote a poem called Aux Feuillantines (part of Les Contemplations), which is basically about a book that is out of reach. Makes me think its pointing back to the antique book shown in the second pdf.
The poem is badly translated:
"My two brothers and I were all children.
Our mother used to say: Play, but I defend
. Whether walking in the flowers and you climb ladders
. Abel was the eldest, I was the smallest
Let us eat our bread with so much appetite, Let the women laugh when we passed by them, and
we would go up to play in the loft of the convent
, and there, while playing, we often watched
On the top of a wardrobe an inaccessible book . "
"We climbed up one day this black book,
I do not know how we made for it,
but I remember it was a Bible.
It felt a censer old book smell.
We went in happy A corner to sit,
everywhere, what happiness, what a delirium, then we opened it on our knees,
And from the first word it seemed so sweet
That we forgot to play, we began to read.
We read all three well, all morning,
Joseph, Ruth and Boaz, the good Samaritan,
and still more charmed the evening we relûmes.
Like children, they took a bird of the heavens,
if called Laughing and amazed, cheerful,
To feel in their hand the sweetness of their feathers. "
I have spent some time looking for that book but no luck. The closest i could find only relates to the design of the ship on the book which is artwork by William Timlin with a similar hull, two masts and either a phoenix or dragon on the figurehead. Timlin’s art is from his book The Ship That Sailed to Mars, but i still feel like that isnt a strong link.