n.p.n.d. [Paris, 1789].
Large 4to [273 x 215 mm] composed of 30 full-page plates mounted on guards. Marbled calf, covers richly decorated with corner fleurons and gilt borders, spine ribbed and decorated, inner gilt border. Later binding.
The rarest of the illustrated French books of the 18th century, extremely rare in contemporary colors. Cohen 248.
This copy contains the first of the two series finely executed by Moreau le Jeune and printed successively. It is composed of 30 plates, with as much flags, which pole is held by a national guard; plates are numbered 1 to 30.
The 30 plates are here in a state before the letter, with handwritten legends. The Destailleur copy, the only other one recorded, had printed legends.
We know that these engravings, “one of the rarest and finest products of the Revolution”, would have been drawn, printed and colored in a single night, on July 18th, 1789 and that the drawings would be the work of Moreau le Jeune. The faces of the national guards are very well drawn and very varied; they only appear here and have been suppressed in the 1790 new edition which displays the flags alone.
Improvisation is obvious for these 30 plates that are the first series and whose legends are handwritten. The flags are classified by battalions and divisions.
They perfectly render the spirit, the contingency, the enthusiasm and the feverishness of the hours that followed the storming of the Bastille.
Precious volume of which the 30 engravings drawn by Moreau le Jeune have been finely colored at the time.
Destailleur’s copy, with the letters and not colored, is the only one listed by Cohen, it was adjudicated 710F gold in 1891 (Destailleur Auction, N° 18o) against 150 F gold for the 1790 new edition (Destailleur Auction, 1891, n° 181).
Provenance: from the collection R. A. Chermside M.D. (engraved ex-libris).