FIRST EDITION OF THE FIRST FRENCH BOOK TO NAME THE UNITED STATES OF AMERICA, WITH 16 RICH COPPER-ENGRAVED PLATES OF THE AMERICAN REVOLUTION, INCLUDING TWO DETAILED PLATES OF MAPS
(AMERICAN REVOLUTION) PONCE, Nicholas and GODEFROY, Francois. Recueil d’estampes représentant les différents événemens de la Guerre qui a procuré l’Indépendance aux Etats unis de l’Amérique [Collection of engraved plates representing various events in the war that brought independence to the United States of America]. Paris: Ponce & Godefroy, [circa 1784]. Quarto, period style full diced calf gilt, raised bands, later endpapers. $5000.
First edition of the first French book to name the United States on its title page, with 16 full-page copper engravings of momentous Revolutionary battles, including the Battles of Lexington and Concord, the defeat of Burgoyne at Saratoga and of Cornwallis as York, and commemorating the signing of the Treaty at Versailles in 1783, complete with two plates of maps.
This elegant volume of 16 copper-engraved plates showing major scenes from the American Revolution is the first French book with a title page that names the United States of America. “Enthusiasm for the American Revolution ran high in France in the 1780s and many works of art reflected it” (Standen, Metropolitan Museum Journal, 255). This striking edition is one of the very earliest to feature such works, and contains rich engravings after such artists as le Barbier and Lausan. These detailed images proceed from the 1774 tarring and feathering of a British customs officer in Boston and conclude with signing of the Versailles Treaty in 1783—framing elaborate engravings of the Battles of Lexington and Concord, the American victory at Saratoga in 1777 that marshaled French support, and key scenes of French and Spanish victories over the British. Especially notable is le Barbier’s “Reddition [Surrender] de l’armee du Lord Cornwallis” at York. The Précis title page further offers vignettes and text on the “13 Provinces déclarerent leur indépendance et se confédérerent en République par un Acte du 4 Octobre 1776” (the 13 provinces declaration of their independence and formation of a republic by an act of October 4, 1776). With Précis and 15 numbered plates with tissue guards (No.14 with penciled number only), from designs by Godefroy, le Barbier, Fauvel, William, Lausan, P.C. Marillier, Le Paon and others. Included are two map plates (often missing): one of the eastern United States, the second showing four maps—of Florida, Senegal, the “Isle Minorque” (Menorca), and the “Isle de Tabago” (Tobago)—indicating territorial concessions of England granted by the Treaty of 1783: Senegal and Tobago to France, and Menorca and Florida to Spain. Text in French. Howes C576. Lewine, 447. Sabin 68421. With contemporary inscription on the Precis title page of “Capt. Glegg, 49th Regmt, Quebec 1812.” Captain John Glegg served in the British 49th Regiment of the Foot as aide-de-camp to the beloved Major-General Sir Isaac Brock, whose death in the October 1812 Battle of Queenston Heights led the 49th to rise up and defeat the American forces.
Images quite fresh with only faint occasional soiling to edges, beautifully bound.