WITH 24 SUPERB HAND-COLORED FOLIO ACKERMANN AQUATINTS OF SCENES ALONG THE RHINE, 1820
(ACKERMANN, Rudolph) GERNING, Baron Johann Isaac von. A Picturesque Tour Along the Rhine, from Mentz to Cologne. London: R. Ackermann, 1820. Folio (11-1/2 by 13-1/2 inches), 20th-century full tan polished calf, raised bands, red morocco spine label. $11,000.
First edition, first issue, of one of Ackermann’s wonderful Picturesque Tours, beautifully illustrated with 24 hand-colored folio aquatints and large folding map. A lovely copy.
In the history of book production "there is no more attractive figure than that of Rudolph Ackermann, through whose extraordinary enterprise and spirit of adventure, aquatint was successfully applied to the illustration of books" (Prideaux, 120-23). One of Ackermann's most lucrative projects was his remarkable Picturesque Tours, a series of seven books produced between 1820-28. This is his Tour Along the Rhine, with beautifully hand-colored aquatints by Daniel Havell and Thomas Sutherland after paintings by Christian Georg Schutz, depicting views of Mentz, the Castle of Furstenberg, the Church of Johannes, Pfalz Castle and the town of Kaub, the salmon fishery at Lurley, Coblentz, Bornhofen, Cologne and other sites along the river. The plates were pulled and hand-colored in the Ackermann studio, whose reputation for producing splendid illustrated publications and disseminating fine aquatint prints spanned over two centuries. The folding map shows the course of the Rhine from Mentz to Cologne. With accompanying text by Baron von Gerning describing the history and culture of the area (first published in German in 1819, without illustrations). First issue, without plate numbers in the top right corners. Tooley notes that plates 2 and 3 have variants dated either September or October; Abbey argues persuasively that to call either state an issue "must remain doubtful," particularly given that large-paper copies have also been seen with the two plates dated October. At any rate, the quality of plates in either state are the same high standard; Abbey notes that "there are definitely some later issues of the book, and these can be recognized by having plate numbers at the top right-hand corner. The impressions in these plates are poor and the coloring less good" (Abbey 217). This copy has plates 2 and 3 dated October, but most importantly none of the plates bear numbers in the upper right. Text watermarked 1817 and 1818; plates watermarked 1818 and 1819. Abbey, Travel 217. Prideaux, 337. Tooley 234.
Title page neatly rehinged, plates fine and fresh, hand-coloring vivid; a few minor scuffs to binding. An excellent, attractive copy of this beautifully illustrated work.