Paris, J. F. Ostervald, Imprimerie de Jules Didot l’Aîné, 1823 (1823-1825).
Folio [697 x 410 mm], 2 ll. (title and table), (54) ll. of text, 40 plates on large Indian paper, each one mounted with printed title. Aubergine quarter-shagreen, spine ribbed and decorated with gilt fleurons. Contemporary binding.
First issue of the most sumptuous work published about the coasts and ports of Normandy in the reign of Charles X.
It was published in several parts. The first three were published under the title “Voyage pittoresque dans les ports et sur les côtes de France.”
It was an atypical editorial adventure because two of the artists approached for the drawing of these exceptional plates were English: Bonington and Copley Fielding, as well as many engravers such as Thales and Théodore Fielding, who worked in Paris, “at this remarkable time for English watercolour art”. Abbey, Travel, 92.
The magnificent iconography comprises 40 superb aquatints finely watercolored at the time, which represent various views of the Norman coasts. They were mounted at the time on thick paper and captioned.
The various views are dedicated to: Rouen (6 views); Caudebec (1 view); Quilleboeuf (2 views); Harfleur (2 views); Honfleur (4 views); Le Havre (10 views); Etretat (3 views); Fécamp (3 views); Saint-Valéry-en-Caux (1 view); Pourville (1 view); Dieppe (5 views); Tréport (2 views).
This exquisitely watercolored set aesthetically and realistically presents scenes of everyday life of Norman marines and fishermen, in sites that, for some of them, are now destroyed.
Prideaux mentions (p. 276) that this book is the most important work by Théodore Fielding.
The work was offered for sale under 4 different forms: ordinary issue, issue with proofs before the letters, issue with proofs before the letters on Indian paper, watercolored issue on very large paper.
Our copy belongs to the deluxe issue, watercolored at the time on very large Indian paper. It is one of the very few copies on very large paper and entirely untrimmed. Measuring 598 mm, it is by far larger than the Abbey copy.
A very pure copy, untrimmed, admirably watercolored “in which the quality of the coloring and engraving is exceptionally high”, preserved in its contemporary binding.