Paris, Charles de Sercy, 1658.
12mo [161 x 105 mm] of (12) ll. including 1 frontispiece, 222 pp., (1) l. d’Avis au curieux. Duplicate in the pagination p. 80 and gap in the pagination p. 206 without loss. Full limp vellum, flat spine, title handwritten in ink at the head of the spine, note handwritten in ink on the back cover. Contemporary binding.
Rare first edition of this charming book destined to people who love “pleasure gardens” and “flowers curious” by the most famous florist of his time, supplier of collectors all across Europe.
Plesch, p. 342; Pritzel 6454; cf. Hunt 300.
It contains a Calendar of the things to do in a flower garden depending on the month of the year, numerous chapters on each plant’s properties, those sensitive to frost or cold weather, those comfortable in oily soil, a Memoir on the seasons when each flower blooms, a catalogue of the best smelling flowers …
Morin was not only a florist and flower collector. His curiosity slowly reached natural history, engravings, and pictures.
« “His tulips, anemons, buttercups and crocus are of the utmost rarity and attract to his place every flower enthusiast. He became one of the most curious men in France thanks to his collection of shells, flowers, plants and insects” writes Evelyn in 1644. He had “miniature portraits of his rarest flowers and plants” drawn.
The Cardinal Barberini, Marolles, Sauval also left behind accounts of their visits to Morin’s garden located in the Marais, rue de Thorigny. Father Mersenne also went there, as a neighbor from the Place Royal.
The treatise is followed by four catalogues of flowers for sale, the four species that were collectible for one could always create even more extraordinary varieties: anemones, buttercups, iris and tulips.
The four catalogues give very detailed descriptions of flowers growing in Morin’s garden so that one could order them remotely – sometimes with a note on the rarity of the flower, the fashionable colors, the esteem that he or other enthusiasts have for them…
Morin adds “for those who would not want to spend too much on the rarest varieties, others are available though they are more common, he can sell for a fair price.”
The book opens up with a frontispiece engraved by Chauveau.
Precious very pure copy, preserved in its contemporary limp vellum binding.
It bears the ex-libris of Jean-François Basset, notable from Lyons whose beautiful Montchat property (then on the outskirts of Lyons) had received Christina, Queen of Sweden the previous year.
The Queen Christina came there from Italy and stayed for three weeks in august 1657 before heading to the court where she was hoping Mazarin would give her control over Naples. She was accompanied by her suite and guards and her visit was not without bitterness: the archives of Lyons hold a record of the 550 pounds that must have been paid to reimburse the owner for the damages caused on the grapevine and on the furniture.