Paris, Delance, 1808-1815.
Tall folio [483 x 343 mm] of (1) half-title, (1) title, (1) frontispiece, 226 pp., 3 maps out of pagination, 130 engravings numbered from 1 to 122 and from A to H, including 58 full-page and 8 with movable parts, (1) l. of technical figures, some misnumbering of some plates. Bound in red half-morocco, decorated ribbed spine. Contemporary binding.
First edition of the most beautiful book of the time on the gardens of France under the Empire, published on Alexandre Laborde’s initiative.
BAL, n° 1709 – Berlin Kat., n° 3479 ; Vicaire, IV, 745.
The text is printed in French, in English and in German.
It is illustrated in first issue with 130 copper-engravings after the drawings of the painter Constant Bourgeois including 58 full-page, representing some of these lovely houses of the center of France, under the Empire: Ermenonville, Malmaison, Méreville, Brunehaut, Tracy, Raincy, the Petit Trianon, Maupertuis, the ermitage in Versailles, Rambouillet…
Mostly illustrated with charming sceneries of hunting or shooting, strolling in charming company, boat rides, gardening or children’s games, they are a happy evocation of the aristocratic life of that time, with a background of beautiful gardens and elegant parks.
On top of the 3 maps, the edition also contains 8 interesting engravings on 2 plates, each composed of 2 overlapping elements bound by a strip and featuring the suggested improvements by contemporary landscapers to modernize or simplify the façade or the too classical perspective of a castle or a park:
« Middle-class house changed into an agreeable house »,
« Ancient manor changed into an elegant castle… »
A beautiful copy, wide-margined and particularly fresh, which system figures are all complete of their movable parts, preserved in a fine contemporary binding.
On the spine of the volume, three wide gilt fleurons represent alternatively picturesque landscapes: a pyramid, a bowl in the antique style and a pagoda.