Paris, Imprimerie Royale, 1844.
Large 8vo of (1) bl. l., (2) ll. for the half-title and the title, XVI pp., 329 pp., (1) bl. l. 40 plates out of pagination and 1 folding map. Slight foxing.
Bound in green shagreen, covers decorated with important gilt corner patterns joined with filets, with two gilt filets and another wide blind-stamped on covers, crowned gilt monogram in the centre of covers, spine ribbed and decorated, inner gilt filets, white paper doublures and fly-leaves, gilt edges. Binding signed Andrieux.
270 x 177 mm.
First issue of the historical account written by the writer Charles Nodier on the Duke of Orleans’ demand meant to be offered to his companions in arms. Sole edition of this remarkable work which was not issued for sale, one of only 1520 copies printed. Carteret 434-437.
« In 1839, the Duke of Orleans, the elder son of king Louis-Philippe, had accomplished a long, difficult and sometimes dangerous journey through barely conquered and still not pacified Algeria. The young prince had brought back some notes from this expedition; then he asked the master writer Charles Nodier to write this ‘Expédition des Portes de Fer’. The book’s printing was entrusted to the Imprimerie Royale and the illustration to masters like Raffet, Decamps and Dauzats[…] The incurred expense was of 91 205 fr. 35 cents, an important sum at the time. The work, a private book, familiar, written for a few, was meant for the members of the royal family, State dignitaries, dignitaries of the Court, officers, non-commissioned officers and for soldiers who took part in the expedition. […] Time has passed and copies became scarce, mainly dedication copies bearing a name, that you shouldn’t let escape. »Carteret.
The illustration is composed of around 150 vignettes in the text, 40 out of pagination woodcuts after Raffet, Dauzats and Decamps, printed before the letter on China paper and mounted on thick vellum, and of a folding map representing « la route de Philippeville à Alger suivie par la colonne expéditionnaire » in October 1839. Each out of pagination engraving is protected by a captioned silky paper. One of the rare copies having a binding decorated with special tools and with a monogram. « Few copies were contemporary bound in red morocco or shagreen with special tools; they are very scarce and preferable to the copies presented in the original cased binding. » Carteret.
A precious copy contemporary bound by andrieux with the Duke of Orleans’ monogram and offered by him to his friend Scheffer. In front of the title-page is written this dedication: « Donné au nom de Monseigneur le duc d’Orléans à son ami Monsieur A. Scheffer ».
The present copy comes from the great bibliophile and expert’s collection, Henri Beraldi and figured in the catalogue of his auction in 1934 (Vente III, 1934, n°360). It was described in it like a « very beautiful copy», preserved in a « fine and rare binding of Andrieux, with the Duke of Orleans’ monogram » that was reproduced in full page.