Paris, chez Mérigot père, Gattey, Guyot et à Ermenonville, chez Murray, 1788.
8vo [219 x 138 mm] of 68 pp., (2) ll. of musical score on blue-tinted paper and 25 plates numbered from 0 to 24. Full contemporary light-brown calf, blind-stamped fillet on covers, flat spine decorated with gilt fillets, red morocco lettering piece. Joints formerly restored. Contemporary binding.
First issue of the 25 delightful engravings of the views of the gardens and buildings of Ermenonville, « Jean-Jacques Rousseau’s favourite property », drawn and engraved in mezzotint by Mérigot Son, after the drawings of the Girardin’s family. Cohen 704; Brunet, IV, 899; Berlin Katalog, 3476.
Two leaves of musical score, « Chanson du Berger de la Grotte verte », which music and lyrics are from the marquis of Girardin are presented with the text.
Descended from the Florentine family of the Gherardini, Girardin « purchased in 1762 the land of Ermenonville. At that time, it was only an impassable marsh made of impure waters lying on peaty soils » (A. Castellant, J.-J. Rousseau : hommage national, 1887).
« He made the most of the peace to make more attractive his land of Ermenonville, according to a plan he drew, and he managed to persuade Jean-Jacques Rousseau to go into retreat in this property. The friendship of this great writer was one of the marquis d’Ermenonville’s glories and a joy for his sons, who received a few lessons from the author of l’Emile. After the philosopher’s death, the Marquis of Girardin erected for him a tomb in the part of his gardens known under the name of the Poplars Island. » L. Louvet, Bibliographie générale.
He created an artificial river with a network of structures in the Italian and medieval styles, integrated into the landscape the road from Senlis to Meaux, changed the vegetable garden into a water feature fed by the small pond which was flowing into a waterfall, adjusted the shape of the top pond and the undulations, put up decorations (la Glacière, le temple de la philosophie moderne), on the other hand he barely touched the Désert. He placed many inscriptions, in French, Latin, English, Italian, allowing the walkers to understand the meaning of the pictures created by the land master.
Finished in 1777, the land reached its peak with the stay of J.-J. Rousseau who composed in this setting part of the Rêveries du promeneur solitaire, and who was buried in the Poplars Island on July 4th 1778.
This route, which was probably written by Stanislas Xavier de Girardin, the son of the marquis, describes one of the most famous places in France, created by René de Girardin.
An attractive copy in full contemporary binding.