CRAMER Papillons exotiques des trois parties du monde l’Asie, l’Afrique et l’Amérique.


Tropical butterflies from around the world
First edition of the most beautiful book ever published about butterflies, illustrated with more than 1650 contemporary hand-coloured specimens.

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CRAMER, Pierre. Papillons exotiques des trois parties du monde l’Asie, l’Afrique et l’Amérique. A Amsterdam, chez S.J. Baalde, à Utrecht, chez Barthelemy Wild, [1775-] 1779-1782 [-1784]. [With:] –STOLL, Caspar. Supplément à l’ouvrage, intitulé les Papillons exotiques, des trois parties du monde l’Asie, l’Afrique et l’Amérique ; par M. Pierre Cramer. Amsterdam, chez Nic. Th. Gravius, [1787-] 1791.

5 volumes 4to [296 x 228 mm] bound in red straight-grained full morocco, wide foliage border on covers, arms in the centre, spines ribbed lightly faded and decorated with fleurons and gold dots, gilt edges, sea green doublures and endpapers. Bozérian jeune.

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First edition of this masterpiece of entomology. Nissen 985; Graesse, Trésor de livres rares et précieux, 294; Sabin 17382; Cohen, 262; Brunet, II, 404.

It is the first work dealing with tropical butterflies to be arranged in accordance with the Linnaean system. It contains the description of more than 1650 butterflies species, most of them being described here for the first time.

It is a « great work which was highly expensive at the end of the 18th century » emphasizes Cohen.

Pierre Cramer (1721-1776) was a rich wool dealer and a great entomologist collector. He formed a magnificent natural history cabinet abounding with butterflies coming from all around the world, enlarged thanks to his relations with the Dutch traders and settlers established abroad and the sailors of the Compagnie des Indes. When Cramer undertakes the catalogue of his collection, he calls on the painter G. W. Lambertz to draw the specimens he owns, as well as some from other cabinets. Cramer dies in 1776, after the publication of the eighth part, and the work is then continued by Stoll. Caspar Stoll gives the description from nature of caterpillars and chrysalis of Surinam bred by Renaud, an amateur who stayed for a long time in these countries, as well as by Vaillant, collected during his travels to the Cape of Good Hope. He also shows butterflies and phalenes, some of which described for the first time, from Surinam, Guinea Cost, Brazil …

The supplement, published 9 years after the fourth volume of the Papillons exotiques, is rare and is missing from most copies.

The superb and rich illustration contains 2 frontispieces engraved by Th. Koning and C.J. de Huyser, and 442 outstanding plates (including 42 in the supplement) representing 2709 full-size species, drawn from the originals by Lambertz and copperplate engraved. All the illustrations were finely contemporary hand-coloured under the supervision of Cramer himself.

« Pierre Cramer, from Amsterdam, published in Dutch and French 400 plates of exotic butterflies from the three parts of the world. It is a splendid work for the sharpness and elegance of the figures. It is much sought-after by natural history lovers. » (F. Cuvier, Dictionnaire des sciences naturelles, 34) A very beautiful copy of the most beautiful book ever published about butterflies, complete with the rare supplement and uniformly bound at the time in straight-grained red morocco by Bozérian jeune.

Provenance: arms of Pavée de Vendeuvre stamped towards 1830 on covers. Pavée de Vendeuvre was a deputy under the Restoration and he was peer of France in 1837.

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